No memory. No limits. No problem.
Welcome to the world of Eve Stranger.
The latest release from IDW Publishing’s Black Crown imprint, Eve Stranger follows the mysterious and action-packed life of the titular heroine, a purple-haired superspy for hire who has a lot going on and unfortunately can’t seem to remember any of it week-to-week.
What might seem a trope well played out before (amnesiac spy tries to regain memories – hello The Bourne Identity) feels fresh and invigorated here thanks to fantastic writing from David Barnett, making Eve Stranger one of the best new series and heroines to get invested in in 2019.
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The concept behind Eve Stranger is a fantastic hybrid of influences: Eve is all but one of Joss Whedon’s dolls from his Dollhouse television series; a collection of amnesiac beauties available for imprinting upon with different personalities and skillsets. In Eve’s case, she’s the ultimate spy, available for everything from assassination gigs to high-profile rescues.
The sci-fi influences are bolstered by neat twists in Eve herself – her blood is amock with nanobombs, a constant threat to ensure she completes the job at hand. This effectively hints at a wider conspiracy at hand and at the role that Eve will play when governments and private companies fight to take control of a woman, who only wants to find herself and her father, the latter a caring but somewhat sinister man shown at the beginning.
The first five issues are a rollicking ride of Eve as a cipher, as the apotheosis of a perfect weapon, and runs the gamut through some fun excursions such as a child reporter (including neat feminism and David Lynch nods) and a British supernatural horror, that might secretly be the real story all along. After all, which version of Eve is real and which is the dream is an intriguing thought to ponder.
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The art from Phillip Bond is exceptional too – an assault on a Miami warehouse to rescue kidnapped kids explodes onto the page in violent reds and menacing blues, while Eve herself remains the focal point; in a protest march brimming with effervescent colour, she stands apart with her shock of violet hair and inscrutable gaze.
Eve Stranger stands out from the crowd as a fantastic example of how a new comic series can hit the ground running and make a strong, engaging, and thoroughly fun debut, as well as an accessible read (this could easily be a Netflix hit in the making). Armed with her gun, her bike, and her stuffed bear Huldu, Eve looks set to take on anything and delve deeper into her enigmatic backstory, ready to high-kick any fake waiters or eliminate any enemies who cross her path. Personally, I can’t wait to see where she goes next.