Reviewed by Steve Walsh
The Book: This is a detective mystery.
It lasts only 3 seconds.
Which is enough time for a particle of light to travel 900,000 kilometres.
And as you follow it on its journey – through scenes of deadly drama and seeming innocence, as far as deep space and back – look into the blind spots and corners. There are clues there: connections between the characters, motives, intrigues, crimes and plots.
The Review: The title of this remarkable book refers to the three seconds that is the duration of the story, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a light read. At least not in the way you’d expect. Following the path of a particle of light as it arrives at the scene of a murder, we zoom into each image frame by frame before bouncing off a reflective surface to allow us a new perspective.
Despite showing us more than you’d expect to get over such a short space of time, and with a limited viewpoint, it still takes a keen eye to pick up on the tiny details, even with that helpful particle showing us the scene from a number of different angles. Mathieu is a tireless experimentalist, constantly pushing the medium to its limits, and this book is no exception.
Almost wordless, this book forces Mathieu to squeeze so much narrative from the visuals and, despite the limits he places on himself with the scope of the images, it’s a remarkable success. The exactitude of Mathieu’s line-work, layout and plotting keep what could be a confusing story clear and deliver an exceptional, fresh take on the mystery genre.
• More about the book and online tie-in: www.3secondsmystery.com
• This review first appeared in the London-based independent graphic fiction magazine Your Days Are Numbered Issue 6. Find Your Days Are Numbered online: http://yourdaysarenumberedmag.com
Published four times a year, each issue is a digest of what’s happening in and around the contemporary graphic and comics scene, with Q&A interview-style features that invite the reader to participate in the conversation. The magazine is distributed at graphic stores, comic shops and cafes in London, Brighton, New York and selected other worldwide destinations.
About Steve Walsh