REVIEW: The Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin

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Title page of episode 1 of “The Private Eye”. Used with permission.

With the plethora of social media outlets combined with the ease of content creation brought on by mobile devices, faster networks and better cameras, it grows more difficult to keep one’s information private. Some people that I know (my college-age son included) have started a backlash by deleting their Facebook and other accounts, citing their distraction, invasion of privacy and questionable content as reasons not to invest time. And once your data and information is out there in the great wide Intrawebs that Al Gore invented, it is near impossible to retract it, or delete it. Thanks to Google et. al., it gets easier and easier for anyone to find it. The viral nature of the Internet can make anyone a celebrity, and the lack of privacy can make many wish they were not.

I am not currently a reader of comic books, online or paper. As with many others, I did so in my youth (when I get sad about the poor Thor movies, I should re-read my Thor comics!). But I made an exception with Brian K. Vaughan (writer and co-creator of comics including Saga, Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina,  producer on television shows Lost and Stephen King’s Under The Dome.) and Marcos Martin (artist of books like Daredevil, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange: The Oath) and their latest work, The Private Eye, for two main reasons:

  1. The premise of a future where everything that has ever been stored on the Internet/in the cloud is suddenly available, and there is a backlash towards privacy, appeals to what I do during waking hours (I run a security software and services company, selling solutions to keep company’s information private);
  2. The distribution mechanism is unique: a non-DRM, pay-what-you-want, available through the Internet as a serial, similar to what has been tried in music and in other places.

The initial 30 page episode one is currently available online.

[Warning: Minor spoilers ensue beyond this point]

Some sixty years in the past, the cloud “burst”, and all of the information mankind at sent, photo’d, and stored in the Internet was immediately available for public consumption.

Page 23 from episode 1 of "The Private Eye". Used with permission
Page 23 from episode 1 of “The Private Eye”. Used with permission

A backlash ensued, where “the Fourth Estate”, the press were now certified and credentialed as part of the government, and no unauthorized privacy invasions were allowed. In fact, these were felonies. Paparazzi were criminals (some would say this is not a science fictional definition).

As always, there are some ‘for hire’ who will dare these laws…for a large price. One of these as-yet-unnamed entrepreneurs is the main character of this first episode.

Page 4 from "The Private Eye". Click for larger image
Page 4 from episode 1 of “The Private Eye”. Used with permission. F-bomb redacted by your truly, striving to keep SF Signal PG! Click for larger image

Several questions are setup: what caused all of the information to be revealed? Who is the gent who dares the laws? And several others that would give away the story line.

The first episode is downloadable for whatever price you deem fit, from free to infinity. The FAQs suggest a price range based on current comic pricing. The folks at PanelSyndicate tell me that episode 2 is coming SOON!