Now that we’re firmly in original story territory, Jack Flash and the Faerie Case Files volume 3 spends a lot of time setting up what could be a really interesting suspenseful adventure. There is a mysterious man in a black hat who seems to be involved in pushing a drug allowing humans to temporarily see magic and its users might be trying to herd or lure Jack and Larry into tracking him through a series of crimes connected by this drug. While the man himself and his motives are almost entirely unknown, as are whether or not he’s purely evil- he does help Larry help Jack at one point- the individual story focus elements are pretty disconnected. One case is a dispute between the local bosses of the werewolves and the kitsunae, another has to do with a lovesick centaur who is neglecting her job as a result, while yet another is given to Jack by her new handler who themselves seems to be pretty mysterious, and then there’s Larry’s new human friend who gets a good look at Larry’s wolf form when Larry intervenes to save him from possibly getting murdered.
There seem to be a lot of potential loose ends to either eventually weave into the main adventure like the detective (? I think, not sure) who might have gotten a look at Jack doing magic, and others that are likely to be dropped like Vince’s cousin Ida (lovesick centaur girl); I’m wondering about the baby dragon though, since it is in the art a few times but not the story.
The art is really heavy and dark which on the one hand makes it interesting because it’s different, but that also means action scenes are hard to see exactly what’s going on or who is doing what, like when human who have been drugged start crossing the veil into Faerie and Jack and Larry are trying to drag them out, the scenery and people are really hard to make out because of all the think dark drawing everywhere.
There’s some worldbuilding and I’m interested in the game being set up by the man in the black hat, but stories are not consistently of the same quality, like the fluff about Ida; that one seemed a little pointless since there’s so many more ways you could have introduced drugs into the story. IF the story can keep the momentum and suspense being set up, I’ll be happy. I jut hope the focus doesn’t slide. I’m all for a lighter side-story, but either it totally fits, or it should be totally separate; the in-between didn’t seem to work out so well.