Review by Frank Plowright
Until her sixteenth birthday Addison Brody is a normal girl. She enjoys her manga influenced video games and cosplay with Nick Vivaldi, whom she swears is just a friend, and lives at home with her medical examiner father and her grandfather, who was once chief of police. He has an unresolved issue, one involving several other city officials for better or worse, having retired before he could close the case on Irene Trent, CEO of Trent Pharmaceuticals, who’s managed to avoid all charges brought against her. This is often because witnesses disappear, then turn up dead, their evidence missing. This is a world Addison has been unaware of, but when Nick and his police detective father join the murdered, her world falls apart.
Mia Goodwin has a creative imagination resulting in a very good crime series that’s flown too far under the radar. It begins deceptively, perhaps overdoing the saccharine, but as the story continues some layers are peeled back and what’s revealed is astonishing. Almost everyone introduced in the opening chapters has a secret, some of which will drop your jaw, and collectively they portray a broad vigilante culture in Addison’s home town. Others are just for effect, such as Addison’s grandmother, while others still await explanation at a later stage, such as the number of people communicating with ghosts. It’s an unsettling soup, and mixed emotions are further confused by the sugar-coated pages of Goodwin’s art. She has an attractive cartoon flair, equally good at shocking violence and building personality, and allied with an innate TV dramatist’s sense of pacing and viewpoints. Just as well, because there’s some very disturbing material in the final chapter. Also notable is the character design. Although heavily featured in the background, Irene Trent isn’t actually seen until the final chapter, and Goodwin’s 1950s version of housewife perfection is a fantastic look, subverting the comforting.
Divine Intervention is a really strong opening statement from a previously unknown creator, and if some pieces seem to drop together too conveniently, stick with it. There’s a reason for that, and Addison’s story continues in Absence of Good.