CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Bad Rap
Just in case you read more comics than you watch TV, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is an American television drama that focuses on a team of forensic scientists in Las Vegas. Using modern science and traditional detective work, this charismatic crew solve crimes by analysing bullet trajectories, collecting fingerprints, utilising mass spectrometers (whatever they are) and comparing DNA samples. Having already spun off Miami and New York variants on TV, the move into comics is a logical additional revenue stream for this highly popular franchise.
However, the format hasn't translated all that well. The dialogue is almost too sharp - people just don't say things that clever, that often, in normal conversation. This quick-fire stuff may work on TV with good actors who can pull it off, but see it written down and it all sounds rather corny.
The crime the team are investigating in this book heads rapidly towards farcical - the murderer stays one step ahead of the team all the way through the story and it's only once the number of potential victims is running short that hunters and hunted finally meet. The mystery hangs around the music business and there's an over-riding feeling that it may be trying to be too hip for its own good. Collins uses an expert on forensics to help him with detail and plotting - perhaps he should have got a music business insider to help with the realism on that side of things.
The artwork uses contrasting styles to flashback to events that occur before the story starts and hypothetical sequences of events plotted by the CSI team. This is covered by a different artist to the majority of the book in an expressionistic style, which actually works rather well, ensuring there's no question of getting confused about what happens when.
This isn't enough to heave the book up though. Sure, huge fans of the program may well relish some further adventures, but there's little mystery here. This may have worked better on prime-time TV, which requires a certain element of 'sit-back and enjoy the ride' to keep its mass audience. But we believe a comic could have been cleverer, using the strength of the medium to add more depth to the story. After all, comic readers can always nip back and check on a nuance of the story - a television viewer can't do this, and it's reflected in this plot's relative linearity.
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