Indie Comic Review: Bad Medicine vol. 1 (with Preview)

Bad Medicine vol. 1 -  Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir, Christopher Mitten - Oni Press - $19.99

Bad Medicine vol. 1 – Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir, Christopher Mitten – Oni Press – $19.99

The first issue of Bad Medicine was released on FCBD 2012.  It set up an intriguing premise and set a mystery in motion which involved disappearing heads, murderous professors, and disgraced doctors who speak to the spirit of a patient they once killed.  If you never ventured past that first, free issue, now is the time to pick up the collected edition.

Pulled out of exile from a dark corner of the world, renowned-surgeon-turned-fringe-medicine-eccentric Doctor Randal Horne must return to New York City to investigate a tragic research lab accident that’s left one man dead, and inexplicably headless. Now with the help of a distrusting NYPD detective and a team of doctors from the CDC, Horne must diagnose this and other seemingly unexplainable medical phenomenon in a world where the line between medical science and science fiction is blurry at best.

Bad Medicine takes the best elements of The X-Files and Fringe, making for an entertaining procedural which delves into the strange and unexplained.  Combining pseudo-science and medico-jabber, the main characters of Bad Medicine confront grizzly murders and creatures of myth and legend.   The series revolves around Detective Joely Huffman and disgraced Doctor Randal Horne.  Huffman is the no-nonsense NYPD detective who is assigned a case involving a mysterious death where the head of the deceased has disappeared.  Her investigation leads her to Randal Horne who knew the man suspected of the murder.  But he has demons of his own to confront.

The writing team of Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis are no strangers to writing compelling mysteries. Their Skinwalker series from Oni is one of the standouts from the publisher’s early days. They have backed that up with the Amy Devlin series of mysteries. In each of those cases, as well as with Bad Medicine, DeFilippis and Weir strike a important balance between character and plot. Each one is important and is given the right amount of focus. The reader is left with the feeling that there is no way these stories could be told without the characters and the characters could not exist without these scenarios.

What was surprising was that there were two different “episodes” in this volume, adding to the feel that this was a tv show in comic book form. I had expected a single, extended story. But, with two stories, DeFilippis and Weir are able to explore more character traits by exposing the players in the story to different scenarios and then examine how they react.

Artist Christopher Mitten gives everything a scratchy, rough look. The art drives home the point that these stories take place outside the normal, clean and sterile worlds of scientific inquiry. This is real, this is off the beaten path. These investigators are working cases no one else would be willing to touch.

the first volume of Bad Medicine feels like a pilot for a new television series. Bad Medicine gives fans of Fringe and the X-Files an opportunity to fall in love with new characters an new mythology. As much a character piece as a procedural, there is something for everyone in the pages of Bad Medicine.

Bad Medicine Volume 1 is available today from Oni Press.





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