How do you find a perp you can’t see? This is the paradox facing Detective Joely Huffman in the case of a body found with an invisible head with all signs pointing to an invisible murderer. However, this isn’t just a case of morphic fields gone wrong; it’s a case of a morphic field gone right. Teamed with a pair of doctors from the CDC and a mysterious Dr. Randal Horne, Huffman has to trust her gut while working with men who know more than they let her in on.
But wait, what are morphic fields? What’s this comic TALKING about?
Bad Medicine is a gritty new series by Oni Press that debuted at Free Comic Book Day, featuring a questionable cast of characters thrown together to solve a crime drama with some serious sci-fi elements. The story takes a wise approach, ditching technical mumbo-jumbo from the get-go and instead honing in on the impact of the scientific discovery and crime. Instead of worrying about how the controversial morphic fields work (they make people invisible) the story leads you to question whether the (admittedly cool) morphic fields should be legal at all. You’ve heard all this before, where blue-collar characters see the moral quandary, the scientists see the future, and the government sees a weapon. The plot progresses at a brisk pace that I enjoy, but the action is vague, I’m not sure if this is an issue with the story or the art, but it’s not always clear what is occurring in the panels or the direction of motion from scene to scene and the story suffers a bit. I had to back track twice in the first issue to clarify something happened pages earlier.
The characters are a motley crew, but remind me best of characters in The X-Files. Huffman plays the wary skeptic while her reluctant ‘partner’ Dr. Randal Horne plays the role of the believer with earnest. A modern day Mulder and Scully, but while Huffman is a tougher nut than Scully, Horne is definitely weirder than Mulder. Unfortunately with the exception of Horne, the characters are drawn in broad strokes and are left underdeveloped, however this is early in the run so I’m not sure if this will be addressed in coming issues or not. As for Horne, he’s a curious lead. He’s the stereotypical detached doctor who only sees the science in things, not the people behind his treatments and it makes him a dangerous wild card. He’s directly caused the death of two patients, which he’s upfront about and has a tendency to favour progress over justice, something that the others may have to come to terms with in upcoming issues.
Overall, Bad Medicine isn’t a knockout of a story, (at least it’s not terrible original), but I’m interested in seeing where it goes.