Christa Faust and Gary Phillips return to the vintage Time Square setting for the second issue in their gritty, noir comic.
When readers last left Roxanne Bell at the end of Issue One, she was watching the VHS tape that resulted in the death of her friend. Issue Two opens with the revelation that the tape is a recording of a call-girl being murdered – a crime its perpetrators will do anything to keep hidden.
Weaving into this main plot are tales of racial profiling, the struggles to make ends meet for low-income city folk, and corruption at the highest echelons of society. Peepland is clearly a historical piece, but it does show that while some things have change, many more have stayed the same.
The final section of the issue documents what is happening with each of the characters in various locations throughout the city. This tableau is nicely tied together with the reoccurrence of the same Christmas carol. This is a nice writerly technique that allows for the multiple settings to feel organic. Writers (and readers) who discount the work that goes into creating a successful comic book should take a moment to examine the structure here – it’s nothing short of impressive.
By the end, everyone is in a precarious situation and these plot threads portend of an action-packed Issue Three. Christa and Gary have managed to evoke nostalgia for a time and location that most people disparage. Peepland is tailor-made for noir fans.