Review by Frank Plowright
During an expedition to Nepal an American woman is attacked by her guides and left for dead. She reaches civilisation and recovers her health, but not her memory. Her instincts, however, remain, and when she’s attacked by three thugs she fights them off and makes a prodigious leap across a rooftop to safety, dodging bullets along the way.
Writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti namecheck their inspiration by devoting a couple of panels to discussion of Modesty Blaise. That feeds into an early theme of the story where the writers’ research is explained to readers. It’s not subtle. Neither is the characterisation of the local gangster, prone to killing his minions if they screw up. One imagines there’s hardly an inexhaustible supply of minions in Kathmandu, high up in the Himalayas. The mystery woman gave the name Samantha Rayne when originally checking into a hotel, and she meets American teacher Sean McDermott. He’s not quite Willie Garvin, so their relationship is along the lines of 1950s caper movies like Charade, although reversed, with Samantha the capable one. Unfortunately it doesn’t approach that level of charm, as Sean’s primary purpose is her narrative sounding board.
Juan Santacruz is an adaptable storyteller, but lacking an individual style, and some of his figures are extremely posed. It feeds into this slim paperback never really shaking the feeling of being a pitch graphic novel. Its plot follows a caper movie template, with misunderstandings and last minute rescues, and while the eventual revelation about Samantha Rayne is good, the remainder is tailored toward escalating action scenes, and once any consideration is given to picking holes in the plot, they appear. Fun in places, but hardly essential.