Undercover cop Jake Ryan just had one of those days. You know, the kind where your deal goes bad, you kill a couple of pushers in the line of duty and then get shot yourself, wake up in an alley and slowly realize…you’re in Purgatory?
Take a look at the first issue’s official description from IDW:
In a surreal setting where a red sky burns bright and the blanket of night brings a terror known only as the Dark Souls, ex-cop Jake Ryan struggles to make sense of his surroundings. Gateway is a story that weaves a rich tapestry of loyalty, lust, intrigue and betrayal as beggars, thieves, priests, and murderers all vie for power in a world that rewards the bold and enslaves the weak.
Getting right to business here: Gateway is a promising series. The issue starts up nicely and our leading man, Jake Ryan, is an intriguing character with some deeper issues that, thanks to brief exposition, we want to get to know. We pick up Ryan at the beginning of his archetypal heroic journey which is forced upon him circumstantially when he’s shot during a busted op. Ryan awakes in purgatorial Hopetown and it doesn’t take long before the sharp Ryan deduces things are not what they appear and that there are more concerns than the Dark Souls the people of Hopetown are made to fear.
Joe Halpin, Jr., a newcomer to comics as far as I can tell, is the man behind the story here and does a very nice job about 85% of the time. The book opens well and carries on well, however, Halpin violates one of my personal “dont’s”: he explains the obvious. I’ve always said if you have to explain a joke, it’s ruined; I feel the same way about plot points and Halpin over-explains a fairly obvious one here AFTER he had already given the reader enough hints.
Juanfrancisco Moyano, who did some work on Dungeons and Dragons in the past, handled both the pencils and ink for the issue. Moyano’s work is detailed and quite a bit more colorful than you’d imagine when dealing with Dark Souls. In all honestly it’s really impressive work given the medium and I’d wager that Moyano will have a nice, long career in comics.
I’ll write Halpin’s over-exuberance off to a rookie mistake. This series has potential and this book is worth a look.