Far From Just One Thing: ‘Spy Island #1’ Reviewed

by Josh Davison

Mild Spoilers Ahead

Nora is a spy working on an island in the Bermuda Triangle. She just finished killing someone and is going to a fundraiser for the preservation of mermaids. She is terribly bored, but she needs to attend such things to gather information for future ventures. She hates the Bermuda Triangle and she is far from the only spy there. She meets up with an MI-6 Agent for a night of fun to alleviate the boredom. The next day, she goes to the docks to see what new arrivals have come to Spy Island.

Spy Island #1 cover by Lia Miternique
Spy Island #1 cover by Lia Miternique

Spy Island #1 kicks off the new Dark Horse Comics series from Chelsea Cain, Lia Miternique, and Elise McCall. It brings us to a wild and zany world where many spies work from an island in the Bermuda Triangle and trouble is brewing on the island.

It’s a bit of a shotgun blast of genre and plot. You meet Nora, you learn she works in the Bermuda Triangle with countless other spies from various governments, that mermaids, aliens, and all manner of things exist in this universe, and this has all left Nora terribly bored. Never let it be said that Spy Island is just one thing.

It leans on the James Bond tropes a little too hard, which most spy comics do. Hell, Jimmy’s Bastards and BANG! may be self-aware in their use of James Bond, but they still use the trappings.

All of this leaves the plot feeling a bit meandering and slow, which may be the point given Nora’s own feelings of aimless ennui. It does dump a lot of exposition on the reader masked with sarcasm and absurdity. That said, there are plenty of jokes to keep things from feeling boring. 

Nora is a likable character and there is something innately funny in her finding this life of action, adventure, and intrigue unfulfilling and boring.

Elise McCall’s artwork is very good. She gives the book plenty of visual personality and detail. It draws upon a 1960s aesthetic–again leaning on James Bond–and it leaves the reader wondering what year all of this is supposed to be taking place in through much of the book. Rachelle Rosenberg gives the book a bright and lively color palette and it looks damn good too.

Spy Island #1 is a fun and promising start for this new Dark Horse series. It’s funny, intriguing, and drips with personality. While I’ve not the foggiest clue where it’s going with its story, and it does lean on the increasingly tired trappings of the genre, I did enjoy this comic. Feel free to pick it up.

Spy Island #1 comes to us from writer Chelsea Cain, artist Elise McCall, color artist Rachelle Rosenberg, letterer Joe Caramagna, supplemental artists Lia Miternique and Stella Greenvoss, and cover artist and designer Lia Miternique.

Final Score: 7/10

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