I’ve been excited about Numbercruncher since I first came across it in a March Previews post on Facebook. Now that I’ve been lucky enough to read the first issue, I’m even more excited, because this book is everything I hoped it would be. There’s dark humor, a smart and intriguing plot, memorable characters, and great art.
The four-issue series collects and expands on the original Numbercruncher that ran in Judge Dredd Megazine issues 306-308. If you’re like me, coming in as a true newbie, having neither read nor been familiar with the original story, let me give you a quick rundown: behind-the-scenes of the afterlife is one big government job, laden with administrative inanity. Bastard Zane, an agent of the Karmic Accountancy – the office in question – narrates the story of a mathematician who dies young and makes a deal to be reborn in his one true love’s lifetime. Things go a little hairy after this point; when making bargains with people in the afterlife version of the IRS, you really need to be specific about things, and there’s always a loophole. The Karmic Accountancy is run by the Divine Calculator. That’s right, folks; the afterlife is administrated by a paper-pushing accountant. Complete with visor, glasses and suspenders, and a cat named Mimpsy.
If you enjoy dark humor, this is the book for you. I found myself chuckling as I read the story, thoroughly enjoying Zane’s gruff voice and jaded worldview. PJ Holden’s art evokes a gritty, Blade Runner-meets-’40s film noir feel. His illustrations of the Divine Calculator’s office are wonderfully overwhelming – think of the craziest paper-pushing situation you’ve ever been in. Of course that’s what the afterlife would be like, right? Jordie Bellaire’s coloring eases transition between flashbacks in the “real world” versus the stark black and white of the Divine Calculator. Her colors give the real world feeling, creating a great contrast between it and the the bloodless, black and white world of the Karmic Accountancy.
I’m interested in getting to know these guys more. I think Zane has a good backstory and want to learn more about him. The Mathematician may think he’s smarter than all of them, so I want to see what he’s got up his sleeve. Does True Love have a place in any of this? Is someone behind the scenes pulling the strings and laughing at us, after all? (Yes. Yes, they are.) Come along for the ride and see.
NUMBERCRUNCHER #1 (of 4)
Writer: Spurrier, Simon
Artist: Holden, P.J.
Cover Artist: Roman Dirge
On Sale: July 17, 2013
Publisher: Titan Comics
Diamond Id: MAR131298
Format: LIMITED SERIES