The Pull List: ‘Effigy’ Intrigues with Celebrity-dom Dissections

On today’s Pull List, where we look at first issues of new comic titles, we’re reading Effigy, a Vertigo thriller about celebritydom as human sacrifice.

From the start, it’s clear that writer Tim Seeley has big ideas brewing. Fledgling officer Chondra Jackson is struggling to make a respectable career for herself in the fallout of her old television series Star Cops, a Power Rangers-esque, children’s superhero show where she played Bebe Soma, the resident science geek extraordinaire. Seeley’s depiction of her humiliating post-stardom life is believable and plays off of the titular theme perfectly; not only has Jackson been consumed in the combustive process of celebrity life, Seeley has also painted her as a sacrificial, child virgin-type character–to resuscitate her career, Chondra made the dubious move of releasing a sex tape. To no avail.

Probably the most winning scene of the issue is Chondra’s lunch with her coattails-riding mother (who suggested she do the sex tape in the first place). While she’s trying feebly to communicate her adult accomplishments, her mother can only gaze into the television screen at Miley Cyrus, eerily musing to herself how, underneath the makeup, celebrities are made of the same decomposable flesh as the rest of us. Again, chilling, considering how much she adores the (former) lifestyle afforded by her daughter’s former successes.

From there, we’re given a bizarre murder case implicating Chondra’s past starlet life, as well as the introduction of an adoring fan of Bebe Soma’s in all the wrong ways, judging from her choice of room décor. The final pages take the story’s scope to distant stars, to  the corpse of a fallen, Kirby-esque space titan, and on the Godyard, what looks to be a limbo for would-be divinities. It looks like Seeley’s setting us up for an interesting meditation on celebrity worship as myth-making, where the celebrities themselves are no more than disposable media for something larger, perhaps more sinister.

Marley Zarcone’s art style communicates quite well everything from the cartoonish style of Star Cops, to the blankly obsessive stare of a fan, and Chondra’s present, understated blandness. While most of the issue has her spotlighting the revealing minutiae of the character’s day-to-day, the final few pages whet the appetite with simple, yet effective cosmic imagery, hinting at the action to come.

This first issue pushes all the buttons a great first issue should: with scenes from Star Cops and Chondra’s tarnished midlife, we’re well-grounded in her character, and in Seeley’s fascinating study on celebrity worship

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