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Catherine Allingham is the smartest person in the world and the world’s most famous private investigator. She’s used her superb intellect to solve infamous crimes like the Black Dahlia murder and the code of the Zodiac Killer. When the police request her help, it’s a mere minute’s work to puzzle out the crime scene and present the solution to the head-scratching cops. But now, diagnosed with a terminal illness and given just six months to live, Cat is about to tackle the greatest unsolved mystery of all: death. After hiring on a whim an unusually observant ex-bouncer named James Doyle to serve as a bodyguard and an extra pair of eyes, Cat sets out to solve an X-Files-esque burglary from a high-tech science laboratory in Europe. The object stolen might very well hold the key to the secrets of the afterlife—secrets Cat needs very much to learn, since she’s begun to hallucinate a chalky-faced specter who dogs her every step. James, open-minded and good-natured, quickly becomes more than a sidekick to impulsive Cat and the two are well on their way to a true partnership by the time the action-packed plot kicks into high gear. Author Mark Waid has Cat and James argue metaphysics in between brawls with bad guys and artist Minck Oosterveer’s darkly elegant comic panels lend an air of moody suspense to the story. Some timeless conventions of the comic book genre are honored (Cat is busty; James is brawny; the villain is a towering, glowering, hulk with minions at his beck and call), but The Unknown is first and foremost an intelligent and sophisticated piece of art. A sequel, The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh, is scheduled for publication in April 2011.
posted Sep 14, 2010 at 9:19AM
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