In response to the rising crime rate and frequent gang violence, the authorities in the Indian city of Mumbai took the unprecedented step of empowering a band of elite cops to apprehend and execute notorious wanted criminals. What followed was a series of extra-judicial slayings without warrants or due process. The paperwork for these was filed as false ENCOUNTERS. Thus, the select band of policemen acquired the moniker of the ENCOUNTER COPS of Mumbai.
Mumbai Confidential is a flawed yet fascinating stroll into the seedier side of crime and punishment on the bustling foreign streets of India. This first issue in this limited series introduces a mainstream audience to writer Saurav Mohapatra and artist Vivek Shinde and the team-up makes for a strong first effort.
The story is a bit muddied up by the not-clearly-defined cocktail of voice-over narration and regular dialog, but fortunately there are more than a couple compelling plot elements that succeed in keeping the reader’s interest long enough to reach the unexpected gut spilling final pages.
First issues are always a tough proposition. The creators are obliged to set the groundwork for tone, atmosphere, and ultimate intrigue for the rest of the coming series. Get too many of those elements wrong and you lose your potential audience for the rest of the story. It’s a good thing then that one of the more important bits (the art) is handled to great effect by artist, Vivek Shinde.
Shinde’s style in this book is reminiscent of Ashley Woods economical brush strokes and color palette. Tone and atmosphere are set before we read word one.
The writing too seems reminiscent of the Bollywood crime noirs that semi-inspired the plot-line. I actually half expected to see the characters break into song as so often happens in those films. Writer Saurav Mohapatra is clearly channeling a lifetime of culture, dialog, and sensibilities sponged from Hong Kong crime dramas, gumshoe tales, and inspired real-life premise.
Mumbai Confidential’s flaws are minor technical ones and won’t stop you from wanting to see what happens next.
B- grade for plot and narrative
C- grade for lettering
A grade for artwork
Overall a solid B grade for a good first effort.
Mumbai Confidential is available at your LCS and online through sites like ComiXology.