22nd Feb2017

‘Peepland #4′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Christa Faust, Gary Phillips | Art by Andrea Camerini | Published by Titan Comics

PEEPLAND_4_Cover-A

Three issues behind us, and things have really started to move forward at speed. Although the central story follows sex worker Roxy and on/off boyfriend Nick Zero, and the bad guys in pursuit of the tape they possess showing a  murder, the book excels by juggling this with all those other characters and subplots. The central plot is like the middle of a wheel, with all the subplots moving outwards from it. Roxy with Nick (and Kat), Aiesha with son Zee,  Simon Went protecting his son, and a handful of other minor characters coming and going. It’s a well written tapestry of a place and time that although not that long ago, seems to be of a completely different age.

Last issue saw Roxy and Nick’s friend Snyder make an ill-judged move to blackmail Went, which obviously didn’t go well and Roxy’s friend Aiesha fighting the police attempt to frame her son for the murder actually committed by Simon Went’s son. The rather slimy Detective Alvarez comes into possession of information confirming it wasn’t Aiesha’s son Zee who murdered the girl, but Went’s son. Rather than clear the innocent boy’s name, he heads off to Went to try a little blackmail of his own. Then as now, money and authority corrupt. Combined, they corrupt absolutely. Roxy, Nick, Aiesha and Zee are no saints, but they are by far the better people here.

With Snyder’s death, Roxy and Nick search for the copy of the tape they know their friend must have made. They turn up info that pornographer Rudy Goldfarb is sitting on a copy. Rudy is, and happily turns over the tape as he knows it’s Rob Went on the tape committing the murder, and he doesn’t want to get involved. Meanwhile Detective Alvarez is walking something of a tightrope. Not only is his witness, his blackmail leverage, starting to wonder why she hasn’t been contacted by the D.A, his partner wants no part of it and also is in contact with someone else concerning it. Oh what a tangled web we weave… The last few pages see things really kick into gear, but I don’t want to give too much away. There are two deaths, one a significant one, and Went’s men finally learn it is Roxy who has the last copy of the tape. Next issue should be interesting.

Another solid issue, though I missed the background detail and texture of previous issues. The story is in full flow now, so everything is focused on the plot, at the expense of the ‘feel’ of the era. Not a bad thing of course, just a change to the balance I have come to enjoy. Well written throughout, with another fantastic text piece, this is still very good stuff, essentially an 80′s thriller dressed up in sex industry clothes. The artwork, by Andrea Carmini, continues to be solid, full of detail and visual nods to the 80′s. Most panels burst with a ton of detail and nice little touches.

This is very much a world we should be grateful Christa Faust and Gary Phillips are walking us through, as it is not one we would wish to find ourselves in. It’s a world where seedy lowlifes and corruption are rife, where you can trust very few people, and even those you think you can trust will sell you out for the right price. It’s a place where doing the right thing has never been harder, as Roxy and Nick are finding. Do good guys always finish last?

We should find out next issue.

***½  3.5/5

Peepland #4 is out now from Titan Comics.

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