With the number of treatments, scripts, biographies and pilots I’ve read involving Nikola Tesla over the years; you would think I would be the go-to expert on his life story. The truth is I barely know anything about the man. The latest chapters in the Minky Woodcock series seems to have done the one thing that all those other pitches couldn’t. They got me interested in Tesla. Keep in mind there was even a feature film released in 2020 based on his life.
Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Electrified the Tesla works as a private eye hired to look into Nikola Tesla. Soon out of her depth, it’s not just her employers after his Death Ray; there are also the Nazis! Along the way she begins a genuine friendship with Tesla that questions who’s side is she really on; her employer or the man she was hired to investigate?
As a main character, Minky fills the femme fatale role we’re all too familiar with. When it comes to private investigators, there are a number of archetypes to consider. If Nancy Drew is the teen-friendly one, Veronica Mars is the brutally honest one. Minky on the other hand is the sexy one. It’s a part of her character that helps separate her from the other two. This is a nice change of pace from other female-lead private eye stories; it doesn’t shy away from the lead’s sexuality. There is good reason why other narratives do this. But Minky doesn’t have the same restrictions, which brings forth a more positive take on it. It doesn’t truly define her, but it is a big part of her character.
The narrative while expositional at times, was good. A few pages in and I began to feel like might just be better as a novella. But a single turn of the page and the action is definitely a must with comic format. While clearly a noir mystery series, there is still genuine emotional connection between the characters. It’s satisfying following the story because each event feels like it earned its place on the page.
The art is a stand out, very stylistic and reminiscent of the time period. Most of the time I added to the narrative but there are a few panels/pages that fell short. Overall, it’s eye catching and visually pleasing. If I had a hard copy, I would leave this out on my coffee table, it was that spectacular. A great collection that would entertain guests while you were out of the room or even a conversation starter. Just be aware there is some nudity.
This was the first time I’ve ever read anything by Cynthia Von Buhler, the author. It’s a great first impression of her work. #1 has a part that covers what is fact and fiction, separating her work from history. She knows a lot about her subject and has a rare ability to make readers care about her subjects. The use of photos to create the art was a nice way to keep everything from looking off. Overall, I will be keeping an eye out for more of her work as we safely return to comic book stores.
This comic feels less like a gift and more like a something I would buy for myself. As mentioned above, I’d rather keep this one on my coffee table than on my bookshelf. The noir mystery genre is one that I don’t dabble in too often because it’s usually a hit or miss with me. But the story, character and art are just great. It’s clear the creative team have a real passion for this series. While some pages turn slowly compared to others, it’s the action that keeps you engaged. Using historical facts and accuracy is hard but the author has done so on the same level as The Da Vinci Code. I would highly recommend picking this one up if you have the time!