Five years ago, Arjun Kadam was a rising star in the ranks of the Mumbai Encounter Squad—an elite unit tasked by the powers that be to carry out extrajudicial executions of notorious gangsters. However, the death of his pregnant wife at childbirth derailed his life and set him off on a spiral of depression and drug addiction. When Kadam is the victim of a hit-and-run, he falls into a coma for a month. Upon waking up, he finds a new sense of purpose and pursues the investigation into the identity of the driver after the cops close the case due to a lack of leads. His investigation takes him on a journey through the deep, dark heart of Mumbai, where the line between the police and the criminals has been blurred by his ex-colleagues on the Encounter Squad. Obsessed with his mission, Kadam sets off a desperate game of intrigue and deception that pits him against the very machine of violence and corruption he once helped create.
I’m a fan of noir/crime/cop stories. It’s a genre I can’t get enough of. Mumbai Confidential, not only scratches that itch, but sets its world in a setting I’m totally unfamiliar with Mumbai, India. This is a world, and characters you just don’t see in modern “western” comics. A setting so fresh, that alone makes me want to recommend the graphic novel.
On top of all of that, we get a fantastic story. The series is broken down into chapters, like a good dime novel and each chapter reveals a sliver of the story. It might reference something that is later revealed in another chapter. With that, we the reader are kept on our toes as the bigger picture is slowly revealed.
While some of the characters might seem like cookie cutter write by numbers, there’s enough twist and turns and depth that isn’t the case. Yes we have the disgraced cop who is really a decent guy. Yes we have the crooked cop. But, there’s so much more that is slowly revealed. While it might at first seem like familiar stories of the past, the layers added on chapter after chapter makes that not the case.
Add on top of that art which not only fits the gritty feel and setting of the writing. but enhances it. Page layouts and the flow of the art make it a solid experience to not just read, but also look at.
On top of the main story, we get interludes that flesh out some of the other characters, creating a side story. While the art is a different style, the story is as solid as the main attraction.
Mumbai Confidential is in the spirit of the dime store noir/crime stories I love. I found myself not just sucked in, but sucked in so much I had to complete it in one day. It’s look, characters and voice is something unique in the comic industry. Here’s hoping folks are willing to take a chance on this gem.
Story: Saurav Mohapatra Art: Vivek Laxman Shinde, with shorts by Vinay Brahmania, Shounak Jog, Sid Kotian, Devaki Neogi and Saumin Patel
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Archaia provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review