Written by Saurav Mohapatra and Illustrated by Vivek Shinde
Published by Archaia Entertainment
Reviewed by Avril Brown
Back in August I reviewed the first two issues of MUMBAI CONFIDENTIAL and I knew the creative team of Mohapatra and Shinde were onto something, and now that Book One: Good Cop, Bad Cop is complete that obvious fact is available to the world in shiny hardcover.
Although this is a tale starring a grieving police officer, there are no full on ‘good guys’ in MUMBAI CONFIDENTIAL. There is love and loss, violence and revenge, and above all, the clarity of a man with nothing left to lose. Gritty, powerful and hauntingly dark, MUMBAI sinks its hooks into the reader making you glad you don’t live in the crime-infested and corrupt Mumbai of the eighties and nineties, but leaves you wishing Mohapatra and Shinde will take you there again.
Arjun Kadam is the perfect protagonist: angry, self-destructive and quintessentially human. A member of the Mumbai ‘Enforcer’ squad, a team of police who eliminate the criminal element rather than follow due process, Kadam was no squeaky clean hero, and when he lost his wife and unborn baby, he became an aimless addict. It took his near death and the death an innocent child to set him on his path, one that would see him covered in blood yet washed clean at the same time. Mohapatra injects such realistic attitude and pain in his main character, armed with a Walther, a .45 and plenty of foul-mouthed one liners, you’ll find yourself rooting for Kadam before you even know what he’s fighting for.
The interludes scattered throughout Book One add real depth not to Arjun’s bloody rampage, but to his home: the violent and unforgiving world of Mumbai. By adding in several side tales of other unfortunate souls, some with delusions of power, others simply trying to survive, Mohapatra fleshed out his colorful and dangerous universe.
Archaia is known for backing some of the prettiest ponies in the comics business, and they found a fine looking stallion in MUMBAI. Shinde’s watercolor artwork gives the story a dreamlike quality, even when the blood is cascading out of bullet holes. The colors and varying sharpness of each panel add dimensions to Kadam’s struggle with depression and his fight to do at least one thing right. MUMBAI CONFIDENTIAL is an amazing story particularly since every page shows that Mohapatra and Shinde were made to tell it together. Here’s hoping we see more from this team, for there are undoubtedly more tales to tell from the streets of Mumbai.