Story: Erica Schultz & Van Jensen
Letterer: Cardinal Rae
What They Say:
The future. The very concept of truth has died. Politicians invent their own facts, and independent newspapers no longer exist. In this world, private detectives serve as ronin, searching out the hard truths that people are desperate to keep hidden.
The best of these is Satya, known as Lady Dick, a former journalist turned gumshoe who runs every lead to ground. But Satya has just received her hardest case yet: her old editor has been murdered. Someone wanted him silenced, and the trail points toward the highest bastions of power. To find justice for her friend, she’ll have to put everything – and everyone – she knows at risk.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Having read a few works by Schultz and Jensen before, I knew I’d get an interesting experience here and the book definitely delivers. The pair have put together a near-future piece that leans a lot into the present and extrapolates it in a way that may frustrate some that are looking for escapism, but it takes an interesting approach to it. It’s also helped a lot by having the incredibly talented Aneke illustrate and color it as there’s a wonderful distinctiveness about it. I don’t get to see their work as often as I’d like but whenever I do it’s definitely the take-notice kind of work and this is no exception. I love the character designs, some of the ways the pages are laid out, and the whole color design is just fantastic.
The premise introduces us to Satya, a private detective who searches for the truth in a world where none of that matters anymore. Over the course of the book, we get a decent handle on her in how she’s avoiding her parent’s money because of the strings attached and that means she lives in a dump scraping by month to month with some jobs that make her feel awful as a detective. She was an up-and-coming journalist at one point but we see how the pandemic crushed that industry and the way that the truth gave way to everyone lying all the time about things, making the truth both more valuable and worthless at the same time. With things controlled from the very few, she at least uses her investigative skills to what is sometimes good effect, though even then it doesn’t always work out well.
We see her dealing with a simple job being closed up in bringing back a girl who basically kidnapped herself to get away from her monster parents, but the truth of it is unknowable to anyone outside of that family. Satya gets caught up in something more complicated no long after that as the adult daughter of her former boss at the newspaper comes to tell her that he’s dead and even as angry as she is with Satya, she wants her to investigate and pay her for it. There’s some good exploration of Satya through this and we learn about her boss a bit as well as he tried to go independent but was likely killed by a professional based on the video that she acquires. A lot of it is stage setting to explain how this world works and who are initial players are but it moves smoothly and with more detail than I expected, both in visual and through the dialogue.
The book feels a lot like a standard hardboiled detective story overall, just with the different trappings and that’s a good thing in the larger view. I like these stories if the trappings are interesting and the team here has definitely accomplished that. You could easily take the bulk of this and put a 1920s aesthetic on it and it’d work almost exactly the same so far outside of a quirk or two. Satya’s got a fair bit of exploration here and has the potential to be interesting as we get to know her more but the book does enough so that you want to know her more and see what’s going up. The script is solid and while it may feel a bit too wordy to some, it’s spot-on for this kind of project. Combine that with some great-looking artwork and a solid flow to things overall and it’s easy to get swept up in all of this and see where it goes. I’m looking forward to more.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: January 5th, 2022