HANK STEINER:MONSTER DETECTIVE
COMIC BOOK REVIEW
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Stories like HANK STEINER: Monster Detective, are rare, often enjoyable, and grow a cult following that appreciates them to the point of suffering.
Suffering because that dedicated cult is never large enough to keep the publishers or studios interested.
In this New York, humans and monsters coexist, if they don't exactly live with each other.
Hank Steiner, a towering reanimated monster complete with Jack Pierce bolts in his neck, works as a private detective with the human police force. Humans handle human crime their way and monsters handle monster crime their way.
Not a lot of integration going on.
We follow along Hank's train of thought where he casually drops that this arrangement came about when an Arch Demon tried and failed to "Merge Worlds". That's all we know and it's enough to get the story going.
The mystery in issue 1 isn't big or twisted, but it gives us Hank's day to day life. Nearly from the beginning, Hank has his hunches and he only needs a few tips to set him in the right direction. Unlike most mysteries of this ilk, Hank won't be chasing down a lot of red herrings as he circles closer to the truth. He's only got 22 pages.
This was a pretty good start though and hardcore horror fans may remember this style of story from 1991's HBO movie, CAST A DEADLY SPELL. Earlier than that and in comic books you'd have to go back to Charles Burns' EL BORBAH.
Scott R. Schmidt's writing has HANK STEINER: Monster Detective heavier on the droll, dark humor and heavier on the gore as well.
Tyler Sowles' pencil work gives the horror and death a light touch reminiscent of Bob Burdon's FLAMING CARROT. Sara Sowles Autumn color palette gave me the feel that I was looking at the world's spectrum through Hank's eyes: how he physically sees the world.
The only aggravating thing about this comic is all the red line through apparent F-bombs. It's distracting and unnecessary. Better to just change the word out or find a different publisher or printer if that was the problem.
Unfortunately, Issue #1 is as far as this tale got. Too bad. It was going somewhere and seemed worth the trip.