Blue Estate is a story about revenge and, as the saying goes, revenge is a dish best served cold. This metaphor however does not necessarily hold true as the folks as Blue Estate are not exactly interested in the final outcome as much as having the reader watch as the meal is prepared. This is literary mise en place.
These first four issues, lovingly collected on high quality paper, work to collect and lay out the ingredients necessary for compelling noir; the despicable Hollywood star, the drunk trophy wife, the Zen hit-man, the coked out but hot tattooed stripper, and her dopey ne’r-do-well fiancé. Each character type, (word monger Kalvachev never tries to sell them as anything more) is mixed and measured for the proper amount of despicable charm. We hate all of them feeling no sympathy for their plights, yet we continue to greedily sample the dish.
The plot itself is a slow boiled bit of deception, money laundering, and accidental deaths. In fact, for a hard-boiled tale, the body count is extremely limited and, even at that, the corpses are no one the reader cares about or even misses.
The art is stylized and rough. Character design is urban hip and the inking and line work are reminiscent of Nathan Fox’s work on DMZ. Characters and locations are recognizable and have their own flavors, but work as a paradox to the smooth writing. There is a cinemagraphic quality akin to a director who understands that not every camera angle must be stationary. The panels move and shift for the most effective shot, not the easiest one.
The covers are worth the price of admission alone and are some of the cleanest most beautiful works in recent years. Each one is individually crafted to hint at the story contained in the same manner as 100 Bullets or Fables.
Blue Estate is a fantastic meal cooked to perfection with only the best ingredients. The presentation may be a bit rough with limited surprises, but the flavors are all worth savoring. Image has produced one of the most enjoyable and delectable crime comics in recent years.