Review: Denver Moon #1

As a voracious reader of books, I have always loved private detective novels. There’s something so appealing in that world. You have people with complicated histories, who usually operate in the shadows, and though they live in the moral gray they eventually do the right thing. One of my favorite book series growing up was Robert Parker’s Spenser For Hire books, who lived in Boston and usually had his best friend Hawk watching his back. The television show was just as legendary in my mind. It starred the iconic Robert Urich in the titular role and ran for a few seasons. He exuded grit and coolness in the same breath. One of my other favorite private detectives in fiction was Bob Hoskins’ Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. His portrayal reminded me of the cool investigators of Dashiel Hammett’s books.

In science fiction we rarely get to see a successful blending with the detective genre. I don’t remember seeing too many times a private eye has been in this genre, with the exception of Takeshi Kovacs in Altered Carbon orRick Dekkard in Blade Runner. It’s a great idea because who would not like to see a private investigator like a Mickey Spillane using futuristic technology to catch an android? In Warren Hammond, Aaron Lovett, and Joshua Viola’s Denver Moon, we meet a smooth private investigator on Mars hot on a case where someone is dismembering prostitutes.

Denver Moon is Mars’ top private eye. She works the tunnels of Mars City, a struggling colony ravaged by the mysterious red fever. Her latest client, Jard Calder, is demanding results. Someone is dismembering the pimp’s prostitutes and salvaging their body parts. But since the victims are robots instead of humans, is it really murder?

The opening panel follows the detective trope as we find an android prostitute, laid out on a bed, not functioning, where a man with a scythe stands over her, and bashes her skull in. A few hours later, Denver Moon, Mars City’s top private detective is on the scene. A client lets her know that this is the fourth robocide, killing of a robot, in so many days, a fact that the police is pressed to close, but the client is even more pressured to fearing bad publicity. There’s also an infection called Red Fever brewing on Mars which makes residents bloodthirsty with rage, enough to kill everyone on site.

Denver Moon #1 is one of the better science fiction comic books I have read in a while. It masterfully blends crime noir with science fiction. The story by Hammond and Viola is tempered, smart, and well developed. The art by Lovett, Bendert, and Von Scoyk is gorgeous. Altogether, if you like your science fiction with some mystery, this book is perfect choice.

Story: Warren Hammond and Joshua Viola
Art: Aaron Lovett, Brandon Bendert, and Matt Von Scoyk
Story: 9.4 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy