Comics: Jazz Legend #1 - Reviewed

“Jazz is the sound of the winter storm. Jazz they says, is a wild wave breaking the shore. Jazz is a mountain. Jazz is a Jazz is a swinging desert. Jazz is a purple bird flying against the anamorphosis.” -Sid Caesar, 1960

If you’re seeking out a trippy futuristic drug-induced jazz tale that combines Miles Davis and the beat generation writing of William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg with films such as Into the Void, Howl, Naked Lunch, Dune and Strange Days, then you need to get your hands on a copy of the new comic Jazz Legend #1 from Scout Comics. This book has it all: a compelling and unique story, interesting and flawed characters, terrific art and colors, a psychedelic drug, god-like humans and monsters, jazz, and a cosmic neo-noir setting.

Martin Comity is a jazz legend and the best jazz musician in Motocity, living and breathing jazz whenever he’s not drinking or getting high on drugs. His grip on reality seems to be loosening every day and it’s tied into his use of a new street drug called The New Blue. Martin knows something odd is going on, evidenced by his recurring visions of strange animal abominations and god-like humans. But, is it just his drug use or is there much more going on? Somehow connected to Martin is the eccentric writer Benjamin Way, who has become increasingly interested in Martin’s life ever since he began experiencing his own visions. Only one issue in and I’m completely hooked. Written by JC Lacek, this is not your typical comic book story and would even be considered unusual if it were a film or novel. You just don’t find many stories that would attempt to combine jazz, the beat generation, and a neo-noir sci-fi setting. It’s a weird mix, but it works mainly because of the strong and interesting characters and the air of mystery that exists.

The art by Vasco Duarte has a mainstream look to it, but it still has its own brand of uniqueness. The characters' faces and bodies aren’t always completely realistic, and the creatures in the dream-like settings are weird and imaginative. His choices in page and panel layout further enhance the story and the fantasy elements. The action is dynamic and the characters have terrific facial expressions. The book was inked by Cristian Docolmansky and when employed, there are heavily shaded black areas. The colors from Patrick Gama perfectly compliment the style of the book, utilizing a great deal of shading on panels with colors other than black.

Jazz Legend #1 is a unique and bizarre journey that puts the likes of Miles Davis and William S. Burroughs into a sci-fi version of Alice in Wonderland. Featuring an engaging and psychedelic story, compelling and flawed characters, and fine art and colors, this is a must read for fans of anything listed above.