Most indie comics I have read in the past few years try to start small, with small casts and simple settings. I’m not talking about the large indie titles like Saga or Nowhere Men, but the smaller ones that slip under the radar like Rachel Rising. Hoodlum #1 takes one look at the more traditional indie titles that play it safe and decides to go in the other direction. Hilary Goldstein and John Toledo cultivate an ambitious start to a unique series, which despite sometimes feeling overwhelming in parts, is a great start for a new writer.
Hoodlum is the story of Riley Brennan AKA Hoodlum, a young thief living in a world where a demonic race runs the government, and look down upon the humans as a lesser race. She’s a regular Robin Hood-like character, stealing from the fascist demon overlords and giving back to her own community. The world is one part magical and one part steam-punk with a bit of high school drama briefly thrown in, and it is very unique. Goldstein manages to set up Hoodlum‘s world and first arc quickly, which at first glance is dense, but it is refreshing for the story to be getting right at it.
Characters throw around slang and colloquial sayings that at first are overwhelming, but once you get into the groove of things it feels natural, as the dialogue ends up being top notch when you finally get used to it.
Toledo’s art is impressive and has an amazing amount of detail in every panel, from character expressions to the environments themselves. While detailed, it can be a bit confusing at times, with so much detail making it hard to distinguish items in the environment, making me believe that the art would have benefited from a colourist or thinner lines. That said, Toledo still manages to impress.
Hoodlum#1 is a fantastic start for a new indie team. While at times it seems that the creative team may be biting off a bit more than they can chew, it’s still an impressive first outing for Goldstein and Toledo, and makes me interested in what is to come.