Review: Alpha: The Exchange

The spy is one of those mysterious figures within book, tv shows and movies, which intrigues their audiences because no one knows their true motive, but a select few. You can take the recently returned Game of Thrones, whose Master of Whispers, Varys, started off as another bureaucrat in the King’s Court, but ended up becoming one of the most formidable figures within the series. Then there is Live Schreiber’s John Clark in The Sum of All Fears, a spy who the director relies on heavily, to carry out the tasks no one else will. Then there is Joe Morton’s Rowan Pope in Scandal, a focused spymaster and sometimes operator, who knows when to be pragmatic when others choose to be idealistic.

Let us not forget one of the most enigmatic figures in manga and anime, Duke Togo, better known as Golgo 13, who is more a hired gun than operator, but does offer his services to various organizations within the intelligence community. Then there is Cristopher Chance of Human Target, a character very much like Duke Togo, but not as covert, but just as skilled a tactician. The daily lives of most intelligence operators involve month and years working a job, most of which is boring and may end up fruitless, but also can end up in some sticky situations. In this first volume of Cinebook’s Alpha, the reader delves one such mission.

The story opens on the abduction of a banker’s secretary, as a fortuitous meeting in Paris, has led the Russian Mob, and some financial institutions. The reader is then introduced to Assia Donkova, an art gallery manager, who mundane life gets distracted by a painter by the name of Julian Morgan, who she falls in love with instantly. We soon find out she is being followed by multiple people, as her connections are more than dubious, as she gets caught in a crossfire, during this meeting. By the end of this first volume, Morgan is a spy for the CIA, that goes by the code name, Alpha, and Assia, is more than what she seems as well.

Overall, a fun romp through of a cold war spy thriller, which will leave the reader on the edge of their seat, wondering exactly who each person really is. The story by Pacal Renard moves at a pace slow enough for the reader to get invested but fast enough for you know you are reading a spy thriller. The art by Youri Jiguonov harkens back to a time when sequential art was trying to find its place between realistic and cartoonish. Altogether, this reminds me of the old spy thrillers, which defined the term, “slow burn” and for good reason, as the payoff is the least of the joys, it is about  how the creators gets you invested into story is what make sit shine.

Story: Pacal Renard Art: Youri Jiguonov
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy