Comics, Reviews

Newburn #10 Review: Diving Deeper Into Darkness

Uncover the truth behind Newburn's increasingly captivating web of secrets, danger, and character-driven storytelling.

Newburn 10 Review Cover
Image: Image Comics
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:11 AM

Newburn #10

Review
Rating
8
Good
Newburn #10 Full Cover

Writer: Chip Zdarsky

Artist: Jacob Phillips

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: August 22, 2023

Format: Single-issue

Newburn delivers a powerful character-driven issue that reveals the cracks widening between the titular private investigator and his already small group of trusted confidants.

Newburn has been a treat of a series. Chip Zdarsky is a writer who constantly surprises me with their range as a creator. While he’s more known these days for his stellar work in superhero comics like Daredevil and Batman, he also delivers bangers with his more eccentric creator-owned titles like Sex Criminals and Kaptara. But I never would have expected him to have a flair for crime noir writing as well. In just 10 issues so far, Zdarsky and artist Jacob Phillips have crafted a deeply compelling story centered around a hardboiled private investigator who has eyes and ears across every grimy corner of his crime-ridden city. Easton Newburn is a perfect example of the classic morally gray noir protagonist who is unafraid of using every advantage he has to deliver his distinct brand of justice. It’s through his actions that we see just how twisted and methodical one man can be. I can’t get enough of how the series slowly unravels the layers of its characters with each new installment.

With all that said, let’s dive into my review of the latest issue of Newburn.

Emily meets with the reporter

Overview

Newburn is called into the Black Castle for a new job. Some of the biggest mob bosses of the city are suspicious about how the Triads are seemingly avoiding plenty of heat from the police. The leaders believe Tzeng, the boss of the Triads, struck an under-the-table deal with the cops to keep his organization out of surveillance. It’s up to Newburn to use his connections with the force to find out if there’s any truth behind their paranoia.

As Newburn conducts the new case, the cracks between him and Emily slowly widen. It doesn’t help that a reporter is working in the shadows to release a massive exposé about Newburn and his mob-connected exploits. Luck could soon be running out for the man who secretly runs the city.

Newburn meets with the Black Castle

Review

The biggest draw for me about this series is its fascinating character writing. Newburn has been a character that has all the answers. Whether it's through his wits or his fists, he always gets the job done. Ironically enough, Newburn often feels Batman-esque in his ability to take control over whatever situation he finds himself in when handling cases. But from the last few issues, that control is slowly slipping through his fingers. By dipping deeper into his darker side, Newburn is causing rifts between his closest allies, and there’s very little he can do about it. It’s intriguing to read through this issue and see the subtleties within the character interactions. The doubt brewing within Emily reflects the regret we see in Newburn himself. Zdarsky and Phillips are masterfully setting up the pieces for a powerful and emotional confrontation down the line.

Artist Jacob Phillips also continues to kill it in this series. It’s impressive how he can make even an ordinary scene in a diner look vibrant. As I mentioned earlier, it’s through his artwork that we get to see how the characters and their relationships are evolving. Phillips captures a wide range of expressions that add so much life and depth to seemingly ordinary conversations. Even in an issue that does not have much going on in terms of action or plot, the conversations throughout offer plenty of subtle yet juicy character moments for you to sink your teeth into.

Newburn meets with the Triads

Final Thoughts

This is another rock-solid issue from a series that’s consistently compelling with each issue. With the direction the story is going, it feels like the relationship between Newburn and Emily is a powder keg that’s slowly building up to an explosive development. After this issue’s surprisingly somber final page, things are only going to get more complicated from here. This series has been great at subverting my expectations and I see no signs of that changing.

Why You Should Read Newburn 

  • It’s captivating following the different sides of Easton Newburn’s character unfold.
  • Jacob Phillips is a phenomenal artist and colorist who can make even the grittiest of settings look vibrant 
  • Chip Zdarsky is delivering some of the best crime writing you can find in comics
TAGGED: Image Comics
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