A good detective noir comic book is always one I’ll have my eye on. Ram V is a writer who has been one of the most consistent writers in the industry. On top of his great work on Detective Comics, he has delivered on his creator-owned work like Rare Flavours and The Many Deaths of Laila Starr. Now Ram V is teaming up with Laurence Campbell for a new detective comic book titled The One Hand. We got the chance to check out an early copy of The One Hand #1. Find out how it turns out with our advanced review.
Writer: Ram V
Artist: Laurence Campbell
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
“Neo Novena detective, ARI NASSER is about to retire with an enviable record, until a brutal murder occurs, bearing all the hallmarks of the “One Hand Killer”…which should be impossible since Ari already put him away not once but twice in the years before.
What follows is a deadly cat-and-mouse game as Ari pursues his quarry down the rain-soaked streets of Neo Novena. Ari will stop at nothing to unravel the secrets and ciphers of this case but each revelation only leads further into the dark heart of his future-metropolis and Ari’s own beleaguered soul.” – Image Comics
Reaching the point you are able to retire after a long, successful career doing the job you love is the dream. It’s a dream that once you get there makes some realize going through retirement is not an easy choice. We see that with our lead in The One Hand #1, Detective Ari Nasser, when an old case comes up, he jumps at the chance of putting his retirement on hold. This old case around the “One Hand Killer” sets the foundation for this mini-series.
Right away what sticks out the most is the vibe that Ram V and Laurence Campbell set up. Everything being dimly lit really helps get over this being a detective noir story. No character is ever in a room that’s brightly lit. This artistic choice by Campbell and colorist Lee Loughridge helps get over the way Ram V writes Ari Nasser as a detective obsessed with his most famous case.
Throughout The One Hand #1 Ram V builds up the fame of the “One Hand Killer” case. There is a lot of great world-building around the case. Because of what the case represents you do understand why for Ari this is much more personal. It isn’t something that simply returned that gave him a reason to not retire. Before the “One Hand Killer” case returned he was clearly set in his grumpy mind he was retiring.
This gets back to the mood set by Campbell and Loughridge’s artwork. Ram V shows clear trust in his art team to help tell the story of the “One Hand Killer.” Various world elements help put over the story. This in turn helps the dialogue and inner monologue Ram V writes to be much more purposeful. We learn about Ari as the lead while simultaneously the world is being built up around him.
In the process, we get to see how the “One Hand Killer” case will not be straightforward. There are enough developments that happen as Ari investigates the case that we know there will be many twists and turns. This sets up a story where the reader you aren’t supposed to solve the “who did it” mystery. Rather you should just sit back and experience the story as we follow Ari using his detective skills to learn the truth.
At the same time, Ari isn’t written as a guy you necessarily connect with. But that is not the point of his character. This is a rough and tough old man who you aren’t surprised doesn’t have genuine personal connections. He has been so obsessed with his work as a detective that he didn’t seem to have a life beyond that. It speaks to Ram V’s talents that even if Ari isn’t a character you connect with, the case is complex enough that you want to see how his decades of experience have this story play out.
The one misstep The One Hand #1 makes is the choice of placing this story in the future. In terms of timeline while the story is set in 2873 you quickly forget the year. The vibe that the future created for The One Hand #1 feels like we the world have blended the late 1980s with ideas of some future tech. Luckily the year this story takes place is never brought up within the story. It’s only on one page as an editorial descriptor of the time and place. The detective noir story is what the creators have us focus on rather than the future timeline.
Ram V, Laurence Campbell, and Lee Loughridge craft a fascinating detective noir story that you don’t want to stop reading after opening the first page of The One Hand #1. Everything from the vibe of the world to how Detective Ari Nasser is written gets you invested in the “One Hand Killer” case. This is a comic book not to miss out on picking up.
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