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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation #1 By Matt Martin
IDW Publishing Ė Max Allan Collins (w); Gabriel Rodriguez (a)
To be perfectly honest with you, it didnít take much to satisfy me in regards to this book. Iíve recently become a really big fan of the show, due to my fascination with all things criminal, even to the point that it overcame my legendary hatred for anything thatís been tainted by the touch of Jerry Bruckheimer.
And given the fact that I already know, based on Road to Perdition, that Max Allan Collins is at least a competent writer, I was more concerned with the artistic side of things on this book. Iíve never read, to my knowledge, anything with art by Gabriel Rodriguez. Or, if I have, I wasnít overly impressed with it, since I donít remember his name. So I was relieved to pick it up, give it a quick flipping through and notice that Rodriguez has, if nothing else, got the facial features of the actual cast members down absolutely perfectly.
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And thatís a bigger deal that it might otherwise seem. For me, licensed material revolves almost primarily around whoís doing the pencils. I mean, thereís so much red tape to go through in regards to the story, what with network/studio approval, that one can safely assume that the plot will be about what you would expect from the tv show/movie/what have you in question. So basically, if youíre a fan of the show, youíll probably enjoy the comic book. I think the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer comic book is probably a good example of that. In my store, everyone that enjoys the tv show also picks up the comic book. Thatís just a fact.
And B: TVS is a perfect example of what I usually hate about licensed comic books: when the characters look nothing like the people who play them on the screen. I mean, seriously, whatís more annoying than a drawing of Han Solo that looks nothing like Harrison Ford? Very little, if you ask me (but Iím petty and overly critical, so what do I know?).
The plot of this first issue reads almost exactly like the first act of an episode of CSI. A pair of homicide calls divides the Las Vegas-based team, sending Catherine and Warrick to one end of town, Nick and Sara to the other, with Gil splitting his time between the field and the lab. Clues and evidence are gathered, the plot thickens. Both victims are prostitutes, 19th century bonnets are left at the crime scenes. Both crime scenes appear to have been staged, based on the positioning of the victims and the lack of blood splatter in what would otherwise be two very messy killings, leading the investigators to suspect ritual murder or serial killings.
Like I said, it reads like an episode of the show.
My only complaint is that apparently, at one point in the book, Catherine and Warrick get incredibly stupid, but just for that one scene. Itís pretty clear that Gil is leading up to revealing that their mysterious killer is aping Jack the Ripper (or, at least, I thought it was pretty clear), but his fellow investigators are simply dumbfounded by his allusions.
In any event, Iím not sure that this is a story that necessitates being drug out over the course of a five-issue arc, but Iíll stick around. The art is nice, conveying the story adequately and doing a good job of representing the real-life people that the book revolves around. Collins isnít going to knock anyoneís socks off with his story and he loses points, in my opinion, for falling back on such a tired theme, but it works for the most part, all the way down to Ashley Woodís painted sequences that tell the forensic ďstoryĒ of the murder, just like on television. Definitely worth a read if youíre a fan of crime fiction, or particularly if you enjoy the show (as, judging by the ratings, a lot of people do).