REVIEW: Spy Island #1 — "A Word For Books Like This: Wow"

(Dark Horse Comics, creative team for Spy Island: Chelsea Cain, Elise McCall, Rachelle Rosenberg, Joe Caramagna, Lia Miternique)

There's a word for books like this: wow. Nora Freud (no relation) is a spy who loves her job but is completely over her assignment. Stationed on a tropical island at the edge of the Bermuda Triangle, she lives in a world where an undersea kraken is a manageable travel advisory, where mermaids get charity events, where a half dozen other international intelligence agents hang their holsters and assassinations are as normal as a trip to the store used to be for Americans.

Spy Island #1

Writer Chelsea Cain wields voiceovers and captions like a lightsaber, brilliantly blazing characterization and nuance like a master of the makashi form. Everything about this issue is interesting — the cold open is a misdirect of the wickedest kind, the artwork and coloring pop with little visual treats (if Zilla Touati and Doug don't each get spin-off miniseries, there is no justice in the world) and the subtle choices in lettering and visual storytelling are superb. If you distilled all the thrills from Mockingbird and replaced Marvel continuity with something new and strange and fresh, it'd look a lot like this fantastic debut. RATING: BUY.

Spy Island #1 (of 4)
Chelsea Cain (W), Elise McCall (A), Rachelle Rosenberg (C), and Lia Miternique (Cover and Variant Cover)
Super spy Nora Freud (no relation) has a plum assignment. She's stationed on a tropical island. Her mission? Keep an eye on things. Her problem? The island is on the lip of the Bermuda Triangle, where anything can happen. Her other problem? This particular island is a den of intrigue, populated by spies, tourists, and evil villains set on global domination.
Spy Island is a four-issue special limited series by the creative team that brought you Man-Eaters.
– New comics series from New York Times best-selling author Chelsea Cain!

About Hannibal Tabu

Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on, and more information can be found at his website,
Plus, get free weekly web comics on the Operative Network at

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