Smithers & Wing

Smithers & Wing
Smithers & Wing review
  • UK publisher / ISBN: Independent Publishing Network - 978-1-80049-810-5
  • Release date: 2021
  • UPC: 9781800498105
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: LBGT, Mystery, Supernatural

Flora Smithers and August Wing are partners in life and a detective agency, which isn’t doing as well as it might. As Smithers & Wing begins, though, a teacher shares her concerns about a missing school girl Catriona Hewitt. Everyone other than her family seems ready to move on, accepting she’s just run away, but the teacher stresses it would be out of character and unlikely even without Catriona having mentioned days before her disappearance that she felt she was being followed.

While attention is drawn to a loving relationship and that August has a prosthetic arm, there are only minor indications to begin with that this is Edinburgh on a world where magic exists. It exemplifies the attention to detail Heather Palmer applies from the start in what’s an investigative mystery, strong on character as both detectives have departures in their past. August didn’t want to leave the police, but was forced out due to her injury, while Flora was never accepted in an otherwise all male magical order. However, both have to confront the past to move the case forward.

Kirsty Hunter is an artist in progress. She tells the story well, establishes locations well and distinguishes people well. The other side of the coin is weak expressions and places where digital shading and minimal backgrounds lead to a lack of depth. For a first graphic novel, though, this is admirable.

Much thought has been applied to ensure Smithers & Wing has a credible background, with Palmer supplying a great deal of information only for the purpose of bolstering the world. There’s more than enough to have readers wondering and wanting to see more, yet this good natured chronicle of (most) people wanting to do the right never flaunts its charms, making for a comfortingly understated experience.