Graphic Novel Review: Pigs Volume One: Hello, Cruel World by Nate Cosby, Ben McCool and Breno Tamura
Pigs starts with a simple premise, In 1962 a KGB sleeper cell is placed in Cuba. Years later the children of these agents are activated with orders to bring down the US government. From here a complex and deeply layered story begins. The story is told in a non-linear fashion, jumping between three time periods – Now, Soon and Earlier. This is a very effective way to structure the plot, as more details are revealed in each time period our view of these characters and their motivations is constantly changing. I like being kept off balance in this way, there were a few moments that were genuinely surprising.
The most relate-able of the characters is Felix. When we meet him he is a happily married family man living in Miami. When the other members of the group arrive to tell him he has been activated he is drawn back into a war he wants nothing to do with. In the earlier time period we see Felix’s childhood and training. At this point he appears to be the most violent and dedicated member of the group raising the question, what happened in the time in-between that changed him so much? Felix is a complicated character who has clearly done a lot of nasty things in his life but in the middle of a group of terrorists he is actually someone that we can root for and I think that that is very important to the success of the book. At this point we don’t know a lot about the other characters, just a few brief details that leave me very interested to learn more.
Breno Tamura has quite a rough art style which really suits the subject matter of this comic. With the story covering multiple time periods it would be very easy for the reader to get lost or confused. This never happens though as Tamura’s fluid storytelling guides us through clearly with no confusion. At times the writing is quite sparse, relying heavily on the artwork to tell the story and again Tamura handles this very well. I should also mention that this series has a very striking set of covers by Jock, Francesco Francavilla, Amanda Conner and Becky Cloonan. You really couldn’t ask for a better set of cover artists.
There are only four issues in this collection and by the end I really wanted more, but I like that Image is getting the first volume out quickly and cheaply. This is a really great first volume in a series, it had me immediately engaged and asking lots of questions. There is plenty of story potential here and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.