One of the many takeaways from Bangalore Comic Con was discovering cool new Indian comics and a whole new group of independent comic book artists and writers that deserve a wider audience. Dr Ajax is a series by Pipedream Labs, written by Anniswans, and illustrated by a group of artists like Devaki Neogi Kiran. There are 4 books out now. which are all standalone one shots in themselves. The genre is detective thrillers peppered with slight doses of science trivia and humor.
Now to talk about the first book I read, Army of Bees. The title has a nice rhythm to it, and some great cover art pulled me in right away. The book opens to a no-nonsense good old bank robbery, only involving animals instead of your standard edition Reservoir Dogs. The panels are neat and maintain the tension through the action sequences. There is a nice transition to the humorous 'team' elements where one meets the companions of Dr Ajax - Simantini(aide and sometimes adversary in his schemes and countless theories and hypotheses) and Mark & Monica(the miniature/nano results of a personality modifier experiment gone wrong). There is a fine balance between the dialog and art as we move through this particular mystery. Dr Ajax and Simantini are engaging in their petty arguments and remind one of the deductive banter between Holmes and Dr Watson.
The book goes further into some cool science lessons where you explore the central theme of how an attack can be planned using sound frequencies as a force and humans/bees/animals as the medium. There is good arc to how Dr Ajax applies his suspicions to the case which I can't give away for sake of surprise to reach a conclusion and this unlikely team combines concepts of human sciences, physics and nano force and unravel the mystery behind the Army of Bees.
Engaging,original and laudable outing for a comic book set in a neutral universe. I am excited to catch up on the next editions in the adventures of Dr Ajax and his mad team.