Hawaiian Dick reminds me of those great 1950s crime dramas, full of speeding cars, jumpin’ jazz scores, and tough P.I.’s looking for balancing shaky moral ground. It’s full of great reaction shots, car chases, snappy dialogue, and a few zombies. Wondering about the zombies, are ya? Not too many scenes of Bogie staring down the walking dead, but I’m all for it. This first volume follows the wavering career of Byrd (gotta dig the single name), a cop exiled from the mainland and cooling his heels on Hawaii trying to make a buck. He and his old army buddy, Detective Mo Kalama, get roped into a dubious case trying to retrieve a car for a less than trustworthy fellow who soon meets his own mysterious end. The local drug king, one Bishop Masaki, has lost something he treasures, and he implores Byrd and Kalama to track it down. Never mind that Masaki’s treasure is a woman, and that woman was dead last time Byrd and Kalama saw her. Or was she? Toss in island prejudices, voodoo, haunting pasts, and one sassy, sexy bartender and shake well, and you get one heck of a refreshing drink. The artwork perfectly matches the style of the story, with strong lines and stronger lighting melding with a cool palette of contrasting colors to add energy to all of the scenes. Most fitting, this title also features a full menu of mixed drinks at the end, courtesy of San Francisco’s Isotope, the comic book lounge. Older teens and adults will appreciate the slow wit and burn of this story.
Hawaiian Dick: Byrd of Paradise
by B. Clay Moore
Art by Steven Griffin
Image Comics, 2003