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By Brandy Dykhuizen. Trine Hampstead knows everything. She knows who lost your dog’s favorite squeaky toy. She knows the precise GPS coordinates where your late husband’s bones are rotting. She knows into which London sewer a murder weapon was recently tossed. Hell, she even knows where a Siberian supply of mammoth meat is hanging out under a preponderance of permafrost. But what she doesn’t know is why.

Mystery Girl strips all the, well, mystery out of life’s niggling questions, leaving the raw framework of intent exposed. Paul Tobin has created a world in which a street detective boasts “All Mysteries Solved (already),” a brilliant device constructed to properly skip the stumbling whats and whodunits, taking us straight into the wherefores. As a street detective, Trine can describe in great detail the anatomy of a scene after hearing only the bare bones of the set-up. However, her own recent past is a blank slate, having run into the eponymous mystery girl at a party a few years back. After blacking out for a few days, Trine awakens to remember nothing that has happened to her, but all — everything — that has befallen everyone else. Yet her newly realized intuition can glean nothing about the fete phantom, aside from the fact that Trine “thought she was nice.”

Did this mysterious woman bestow Trine with her new powers, or was she merely an ambassador sent by larger force? Is Trine being watched, or maybe even tested, by certain sidewalk patrons, or is she being primed to have her powers manipulated to an unknown end? And who would be able to pull a fast one by her, anyways?

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All we know for now is that Trine is getting restless, and an opportunity to go galavanting off to Siberia with a Dr. Ghislain has presented itself. Trine knows the mammoths were preserved so well not because of the ice, but due to their surprisingly recent death. And, chances are, if you prefer the company of a caged bird to a more traditional four-legged friend, you’re dying to take in sights outside of the city whose boundaries you’ve never left. Taking the plunge from peddling on the same sidewalk for years on end to an Arctic expedition in search of living fossils is surely ambitious, but with birds and feathers on almost every page, freedom and flight will likely be a recurring theme in Mystery Girl.
While our protagonist can answer far too many questions, we also meet a man who seeks no confirmation at all. At a very specific 73 blocks away, a mustachioed criminal shoots a stooge, admittedly unnecessarily, to obtain the same Weimar-Steinberg papers sought by the mammoth-hunting doctor. Our criminal merely offers “it was time for you to be shot,” and that he “wanted to shoot him” as explanations for his deed. As this mystery’s foil, we are presented with a being who acts in absolutes, seems to be uninterested in motives or consequences, and communicates best through a silencer. Is the force behind this hired hand the same one behind Trine’s powers? Are the opposing characters being manipulated to achieve the same goal?
The only certainty we have right now is that Mystery Girl will forgo pesky exposition to explore the complexities of the human psyche. Life’s grey areas will be probed in the colors of Alberto Albuquerque’s stunning artwork and Paul Tobin’s clever script. Mystery Girl promises excitement and adept examination of character and judgement, with some Pliocene behemoths thrown in for fun.

Dark Horse Comics/ $3.99

Written by Paul Tobin.

Art by Alberto J. Alburquerque.

Colors by Marissa Louise.

Letters by Marshall Dillon.

8 out of 10

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