Detective stories are always an interesting thing to see explored. While we get many of them across various mediums when there are standout detective stories they are special. The preview for Pine & Merrimac caught my attention as an intriguing detective comic book by Kyle Starks and Fran Galán. We got the chance to check out an early copy of the first issue. Find out how it turned out with our advance review of Pine and Merrimac #1.
Writer: Kyle Starks
Artist: Fran Galán
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
“Eisner-nominated writer Kyle Starks (Peacemaker Tries Hard!) brings his first original series to BOOM! Studios! On the corner of Pine and Merrimac sits a small, unassuming town… Just a simple place, simple people, and one horrifying secret that could change everything…
After a lifetime of witnessing the worst that humanity has to offer, former homicide detective Linnea Kent has decided to put all of that behind her. Alongside her husband, a former professional MMA fighter and the unofficial brawn to her brains, she’s moved far from the busy city to open up a quiet little detective agency. At first, the simple cases this nook of the world has to offer were exactly what she was looking for, but there’s more to the quaint hamlet than Linnea could have possibly imagined, and something truly sinister pulling the strings…” – BOOM! Stuidos
Pine and Merrimac #1 does exactly what a debut issue of a new series must do. The world and main characters are clearly established. As you learn about both the stakes at hand are established that will drive the rest of the series forward. It’s all done in a way that gets you invested in every scene our lead pair, Linnea and Parker Kent, are in.
The opening pages of Pine and Merrimac #1 accomplishes exactly what it needed to by downloading the backstory of Linnea and Parker in a quick fashion. It is all done in quick four pages that provides the backstory of both as individuals and as a married couple. Their journey is clear and gets you to understand how they came to where they are at by opening a detective agency in Linnea’s hometown.
The effectiveness of these four pages is seen throughout the rest of Pine and Merrimac #1. Starks and Galán make sure that Linnea and Parker portrayal is an extension of their origin stories. There are clear distinctions made with Linnea carrying the investigations as the career homicide detective while Parker is the muscle as a retired UFC fighter. Both have found a balance with what they each bring to the table and are comfortable in the marriage and professional dynamic.
Their dynamic makes the way they interact with the people who they interact with as part of their job work even better. Each new character provides more context into the type of people Linnea and Parker are. We aren’t told their values with their work. We see it through the way they go about operating.
That all makes it when Linnea gets a case that hits close to home something you become invested as much as she does. Tying back to the origin story we were told in the opening does give a full circle moment for this new case brought to the couple. There is a clear direction to the story that can get even more complex as Linnea and Parker conduct their investigation in future issues.
Kyle Starks and Fran Galán hit a home run right out of the gate with Pine and Merrimac #1. The main characters of this series are engaging with a story you will immediately be invested in. If you are looking for a new comic book to pick up to begin the year make sure to look out for Pine and Merrimac #1 at your comic book shop to be one to add to your pull list.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10