Written by Saurav Mohapatra and Illustrated by Vivek Shinde
Published by Archaia Entertainment
Reviewed by Avril Brown
A brand new comic from the company producing MOUSE GUARD and other amazingly unique stories, MUMBAI CONFIDENTIAL makes quite the stunning splash in its introductory issues and should swiftly develop a loyal following. Inspired by actual events, the dark plot is threaded with hope and humor, the art is hauntingly beautiful and the seamless union of the two will ensure MUMBAI deserves the hype it will undoubtedly garner.
At some point in recent history, the city of Mumbai’s organized crime had spiraled out of control and there was little law enforcement and due process could accomplish in terms of stemming the tide, until the cops of Mumbai created a team of officers who were granted lethal sanction. Crime rates dropped dramatically, but soon after this seemingly effective change the cops who were hailed as heroes found themselves under scrutiny as evidence mounted that the reigns of the criminal underworld had simply shifted into their hands. MUMBAI CONFIDENTIAL is a fictional account of what was happening during that tumultuous period, and how it was happening to one man in particular.
Arjun Kadam is a man who has been through hell. Within the first two issues readers are teased with glimpses into the life of this complex character, and he has more than a few stories to tell. As a former cop of Mumbai he was one of the men eliminating the criminal element one bullet at a time, but as far as Kadam was concerned he was a murderer. As a widower he’s left with a gaping hole instead of a heart, and very little to live for. As an addict, he struggles daily with his demons. As a new comic book character, he is gold; the kind of beat-up, weathered, anti-hero readers want to root for every step of the way on out of the hole he’s found himself in, knowing the journey is going to be an unforgettable bitch of a trip.
Mohapatra is writing an intense, powerful story here, and Shinde is painting each panel so perfectly it is almost if they are in each other’s heads. The unforgiving and brutal story material is tempered by Kadam’s smart-ass inner monologue, and the noir-style art has splashes of color and provides snapshots of raw emotion, making it impossible to look away, let alone not be affected by what is unfolding. With a creative team this hot and in sync, MUMBAI CONFIDENTIAL can only keep getting more remarkable from here on out, and with the first two issues being this impressive, that is saying a lot.