In Review: Five Points – A Warren Mackie Casefile

Comic creators Simon Furman and Martin Stiff have combined forces to deliver a brilliant, spooky crime thriller with their graphic novel, Five Points – A Warren Mackie Casefile.

Available worldwide exclusively via Amazon’s print-to-order service, crime-noir meets supernatural thriller in style in this moody tale, which has already met with deserved praise for its tight plotting, script and art, evocative not only, to me, of Frank Miller’s Daredevil, but without the superheroics, but the very best of police crime fiction, like Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct.

Set in New York, in 1966, Five Points centres on crusading, socially conscious detective Warren Mackie. He’s part of a new and comprehensively disliked ‘initiative’ to shake up the NYPD, who’s compelled to investigate a series of ritualistic killings in the deprived area of Lower Manhattan formerly known as Five Points, a notorious slum in the 1800s/early 1900s, even though it’s not his case.

Mackie’s doing it on his own time, for his own reasons, not least of which is his activist wife, Asefi, who works in a local community outreach centre. Present and past blur as Mackie – aided and abetted by local journalist Ken Pei – doggedly pursues the killer through the sweltering mean streets of Five Points, its buried legacy of neglect, crime and vice bubbling up to the surface in the form of a deranged individual determined to draw Mackie, Asefi and her son into his personal vortex of infamy and bloody retribution.

News of this graphic novel popped into my socials a couple of weeks back, and I headed to Amazon immediately to grab a copy, familiar with both Simon and Martin’s impressive, individual work across so many different comic projects, and curious to see what they’d created.

I certainly wasn’t disappointed: Five Points is a taut, well-paced, thoroughly enjoyable piece of work, the cast established with ease, without detracting from telling a great story, the writing a master class in setting up a new ‘franchise’… because I sincerely want more of this, please.

A rollicking police procedural with a supernatural edge, Simon and Martin never lose sight of the real setting of the story in favour of some of its weirder elements. Martin’s art is perfect for the story; gritty, fast moving, well researched; capturing the feel of New York of the period in style, right down to quieter moments between the action.

I’ve no hesitation in recommending Five Points to crime-noir fans, and look forward to seeing what comes next. Outstanding.

John Freeman

Five Points – A Warren Mackie Casefile is available now from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link) and other Amazon outlets | Written by Simon Furman | Drawn by Martin Stiff | Colour by Digikore | 80pp volume with behind-the-scenes features and Five Points history

Simon Furman has a long – and ongoing – history with TRANSFORMERS, the warring robots in disguise. But his script work also encompasses many other comic titles, including Death’s Head, Dragon’s Claws, Alpha Flight, Terminator, Robocop and Doctor Who, TV animation (Beast Wars, Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends and X-Men Evolution) and games. His creator-owned/self-published series To The Death with artist Geoff Senior has appeared digitally and in print, and continues in monthly UK anthology comic Shift.

Martin Stiff is the writer and illustrator of the critically acclaimed and award-nominated graphic novels The Absence and Tiny Acts of Violence. He is also the co-director of the design company Amazing15, and his design and illustration work has been seen on countless book covers. He has also written several theatre plays with subjects as diverse as Dracula, Jack The Ripper, Sherlock Holmes and Laurel and Hardy, all performed to critical acclaim on the London Fringe.

Categories: British Comics, British Comics - Graphic Novels, Comics, downthetubes Comics News, Features, Reviews

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