BOOK REVIEW – FOOTPRINTS #3 & #4 by Joey Esposito and Jonathan Moore (Comic)

By Marty Mulrooney

FOOTPRINTS #3 & #4

FOOTPRINTS is a creator-owned comic book mini-series written by Joey Esposito (the Comics Editor for IGN) with art from Jonathan Moore (FUBAR). An inventive twist on the noir genre, FOOTPRINTS stars Mr Foot, aka Bigfoot, as a world-weary detective trying to find out who killed his brother, Yeti, in a cryptozoological mystery that spans decades. FOOTPRINTS #3 & #4 comprise the penultimate and final instalments of the comic book series that AMO recently pronounced Best Comic/Graphic Novel of 2011.

FOOTPRINTS #3

FOOTPRINTS #3 further explores the murky depths of Mr Foot’s past, whilst also revealing some shocking revelations during the present. Mr Foot has always been a troubled noir hero in the classic sense. Refreshingly, it turns out that his emotional flaws weren’t simply inserted to facilitate narrative darkness or moody voiceover delivery.

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The underlying sense of awkwardness that pervaded between Mr Foot and his crew – the Jersey Devil, the Loch Ness Monster and Megalodon, a giant shark –  in previous issues is fully explored here. It turns out that Motheresa (the beautiful woman with huge, moth-like wings first glimpsed in FOOTPRINTS #2) did more than just separate Mr Foot and his brother – she dismantled the entire gang.

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FOOTPRINTS #3 is just as brilliant as everything that came before it, suffering only slightly due to its position as the penultimate issue of the mini-series. Taken out of context, it is admittedly more build-up than payoff. However, that shouldn’t deter fans of the series – the artwork is still beautifully inky, the writing still sharp as a knife… and the explosive payoff is en route.

8.5 OUT OF 10 

FOOTPRINTS #4

FOOTPRINTS #4 wraps up one of the most inventive and original comic book mini-series of recent years. Whereas the penultimate issue was all build-up, this final instalment is pure payoff. Mr Foot kicks all kinds of ass as he fights both friends and foes in a battle that will decide the fate of the earth as we know it. Motheresa makes for a highly memorable femme fatale in the Jessica Rabbit mould – is she really bad, or just drawn that way? Turns out the Fountain o’ Youth don’t do shit when your head is detached from your neck.

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It pains Mr Foot so much to even be near her that it actually remains a gamble whether he can make the right decision when the time comes – this uncertainty makes the grand finale all the more exciting and unpredictable. There are some gorgeous panels in FOOTPRINTS #4 (including a glorious double page spread showing a wave of moth-soldiers descending upon Mr Foot) that showcase just how fantastic Jonathan Moore’s black-and-white artwork really is.

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Matched with Joey Esposito’s sharp writing – especially the dialogue – and obvious love for the medium, the end result is a comic book series that takes itself seriously despite the outlandish premise – and quite rightly so. It may not be the deepest of comic book reading experiences, but it has heart and soul and that counts for a lot. I truly hope this isn’t the last we see of Mr Foot and his friends – it would be a crime worthy of the Foot Bros Detective and Recovery Agency. Highly recommended reading for all humans and mythological creatures, FOOTPRINTS is an independent comic well worth your time and money.

9 OUT OF 10

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