December 7, 2014

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The Double Life of Miranda Turner 4

Written by Jamie S. Rich
Illustrated by George Kambadais
Published by Monkeybrain

While Miranda tries to live life as a masked adventurer, there's the small matter of her sister Lindy's murder. When the pair look into the facts of the case, complications ensue as this great series returns after a long absence.

It's always a good week when I find a Monkeybrain book that hasn't published in awhile that's back in action, and this was one that I really hoped wasn't gone for good. I'd really enjoyed the first two issues of this series, and there was plenty of potential for more.

This issue begins to deliver on three items that have been hanging in the wind from the opening of the story. The first takes up the majority of the pages here, exploring just who killed Lindy. We're taken back to the scene of the crime, where Lindy walks Miranda through the night of her death. The clues are sparse, but a few suspects are created and the larger works of the Turners is created in a very organic way.

That kills two birds with one stone, and blends into the second main issue yet to be answered: Why is Lindy a ghost? A need for closure? Her artifact of power? (That's another world-building item slipped in deftly by Jamie, who is really showing off his plotting chops here.) Something else? Before we can get too far into that idea, an inevitable complication enters the mix, setting up potential story point number three: What's going on with Lindy/The Cat's teammates, anyway?

Almost as if they're making up for lost time, Rich and Kambadais pack so much into 14 pages. After growing tired with reading so many drawn-out narratives, this recent trend among some of my favorite writers and artists to actually try to give me (and other readers) their money's worth is really refreshing. Every page of this one wastes no opportunity to move the story forward. There's plot and character development at every stage, and the timing of the lines, combined with the visuals provided for them, work extremely well.

Look at the panel construction by Kambadais here!
I was a bit disappointed by issue three's lack of innovation--especially after issue one's Lego-block villains--but here we're back to more original layouts and use of odd angles. The opening page is a 2/3 splash page looking down on The Cat's lair, with the top left of the room shifted slightly to be just askew enough to throw the perspective off slightly, taking an ordinary set-up and giving it life. Kambadais does this again, with an extreme worm's eye view of Lindy, allowing the stripes on her outfit to further distort the visual. He returns to the odd-angle room trick one more time, when Lindy-as-ghost talks to Miranda across the various parts of her house. Instead of a series of short panels, the standard way of handling conversation, we see it play out across time and space without a panel marking barrier.

Even the standard panel work looks sharper here. Kambadais easily captures the difference in personality between Lindy and Miranda by the looks on their face and body language. Miranda's enthusiasm springs off the screen, while Lindy's more serious take on everything--even before she's killed--is evident in her stature and expressions. It's little stuff like that which moves a comic from "something I've read" to "something I want to tell you about."

I don't know how quickly we'll get issue five of The Double Life of Miranda Turner, but if this issue is any indication, it's going to be well worth it. [EDITED TO ADD: Jamie notes in the comments below that Issue #5 is scheduled for January 7th, and Issue #6 is in-progress! Excellent!] Make sure you check this one out, when you're browsing for comics on your Comixology account. It's a lot of fun, plays to Jamie's strengths as a writer, and has some really nifty art.