While the comic book medium houses some of the most original stories of ours, or any generation, one glaring weakness the medium suffers from is separation anxiety. By breaking up a larger story into smaller parts, it can be difficult to get a feel for a book when you’re only seeing part of a whole. Granted this episodic nature is what keeps the printers printing, it’s just that sometimes a reader needs more. Such is the case with Andy Diggle and Jock’s most recent collaboration, the four-issue series Snapshot from Image Comics.
The premiere issue wastes no time in laying out the premise for the series. Young Jake Dobson, an average comic book store employee, finds a cell phone that contains photos of a fresh corpse. The regular beats of the mystery genre follow; Jake calls the police, a hit man shows up instead, Jake escapes to the nearby police station only to find that no one believes the pictures are real, and so on and so on.
Diggle’s story thus far is frustratingly simple. Our protagonist is an average Joe, and not a particular interesting one at that. While the nods to comic culture that occur during Jake’s interactions with his stereotypical geek friend Steve are humourous, the rest of the story flounders. That is until the final page. Keeping thing’s spoiler free, you get a sense that the overwhelming normality of the story is going to be torn down for something far more satisfying. Unfortunately that will be in the next issue, not this one. Issue #1 however, is saved by the unique black and white artwork from Jock. His clever use of shading keeps even the most ancillary characters menacing, never letting the reader know who they can trust.
Snapshot #1 may be the beginning of a great mystery, as a stand-alone issue however, there is very little to warrant a re-read. Yet the game is afoot and the clever twist ending will ensure readers will return when issue #2 drops. If Diggle can maintain the momentum of the premiere’s ending, then Image Comics has a must-read series on their hands.