Nov 19, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 268: Chase #1, February 1998

I make no secret of the fact that I think J.H. Williams III is one of the most gifted and innovative artists to ever grace the comics page. His stories are endlessly fascinating to read, full of details and flourishes that entertain the eye even as they move the story along. His work with Alan Moore on Promethea will probably stand (I hope) as one of the great pieces of superhero sequential art, and his follow-up to that in the Batwoman series is the most gorgeous look at the Bat-universe that I can think of.

It was not, however, Williams that drew me to Chase. Cameron Chase predates Jessica Jones by about 3 years as a private investigator who may or may not have superpowers, making her way through a seedy-ish underworld of one of the big superhero universes. I remember the advertisements for the series, but never actually picked it up, and only when the final issue, part of DC's One Million crossover, came out did I have a chance to see what was going on in this series. And that wasn't even with the main characters who populate the first nine issues.

I still don't have the whole series. As with some of the other short-lived DC titles of this era, the print runs were so low that finding them, regardless of the fact that they're not the most popular of titles, is remarkably difficult. I'm still looking for the fifth issue of Keith Giffen's utterly brilliant Vext. Sometimes comic store owners look at me with this blank expression on their faces when I ask about that one. It did only last six issues though, I suppose.

Chase made her debut in the pages of Batman, which I guess might be a bit easier to track down, but this initial issue of her own series sets a similar, though less-angsty, tone comparatively. I may stick with this series just for a bit, finally give it a read. It's been one of those ones that I knew I would enjoy, so I've put off reading it until I had the whole series. Maybe the tack I really need to take is to start reading it in order to force me to find the last issue I need.

And I still haven't said much about the story. Hard to tell, really. Chase and her boss (?) track down a teenager with pyrokinetic abilities after he blows up his school in Ohio. It's not the most original story, but then there's occasional strange flashes that disorient Chase but no one else around her, and there's the aforementioned Mr. Williams III's art. And there's the fact that I think, already, I kind of love this series.

For fans of the new Supergirl television series, Chase works for the Department of Extranormal Operations in the series, though they're a little less low-key than in the series. And that's that. See you with more Chase tomorrow.

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