Now that we are getting all of the new Vertigo #1s in our hands, and still waiting for more, we are starting to see the full constellation that Vertigo is creating here. With choosing twelve new titles they are getting thematic content and styles that are all over the map, each dramatically different than the other. This could be a process of throwing things against the wall to see what sticks, but also reaching out to different “alt comics” audiences by choosing some completely original concepts and some that are interesting takes on traditional genres known to adult comics. Within this framework Slash and Burn #1 makes sense as a near-to-police procedural, with a uniquely Vertigo take.
The creator, Si Spencer, has been pretty open about the character of Rosheen Hayes in calling her a “female pyromaniac firefighter.” We see right from the start her role in looking after destructive cases of arson, especially as they may tie to outside acts of crimes, but we do not get the fire-addiction reveal until the very end. The addiction itself is key to the narrative style, where what is going on inside the character is in opposition to the reality that is happening outside. This creates a sense of confusion as we start out, especially when matched with some short scenes with characters we have yet to learn. We gain a sense of what is happening while it is going on, but this could be slightly better woven throughout.
We do not want this to take away from the issue as a whole as it is likely to start a lot of great fans right off of the bat, yet it is likely going to take a few issues to really cement whether this story works or not. For our particular peculiarities, it was not the most engaging of the new Vertigo books, but police detective stories rarely are. The narrative and the art are both well suited for each other, and it is nice to see Slash and Burn #1 rounding out the Vertigo line-up.