Sekhmet Reviews – Hot Metal Miami

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I like HOT. I like METAL. Don’t know much about Miami, though. It’s in the Outerlands, Sector A1. I hear it’s humid and sunny, but what would I know, I’ve never been there. I doubt it’s got all those flashy colors from Hot Metal Miami by Hot Coffee, but who cares? This comic is so good, it kept me entertained without alcohol! So, here comes a…

Sober review

sekhmet-reviews_water_resSeriously, you can read this drunk, sober and anything in between, and you’ll have a blast. This is such an amazing hidden gem in the proverbial sea of webcomic shit offering, it nearly brought me to tears. Violence! Drugs! Crime! Action! Corrupted cops! Strong female characters who don’t show their lady bits for no reason other than titillating the usual straight random guy! Awesome dialogs! And feelings. Lots. If you can get past the art (you really should), that’s a pretty cool reward.

General impression

A flashy, wobbly art, filled with eye-damaging, super-saturated colors and several unclear panels tentatively complements one of the best, most original crime stories you’ll ever see in the webcomic world. Focused on strong female characters, it’s an incredibly refreshing read.

Author’s description of the comic

A neo-noir crime saga spanning the 1980s. In a city awash with Money, drugs and corruption, a young group of girls band together seeking vengeance, all the while unraveling a sinister conspiracy. A ruthless portrait of the American fever dream. Monday updates.

Clear and to the point, that’s exactly what you are getting. Perfect. Pay close attention to “ruthless”, because that’s at the core of the story.

Story

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You should wear sunglasses to watch this

It’s the beginning of the 1980s (and their absurd hairdos), when Donna, a young runaway from Oklahoma, tries to rob Joan, a girl living in Miami, with a toy gun. Donna acts like a good sister, taking the “weapon” away from Donna and offering her shelter. The two walk to Joan’s place, only to find one of her house mates happily feasting on cocaine that literally fell from the sky. Instead of getting rid of it or giving it to the police, unbeknown to Joan, the group of girls votes for selling it. Too bad they approach the worst buyer they could possibly find – the owner of the cocaine itself. Meanwhile, Donna’s sister, Dallas, is looking for Donna. The two main storylines intertwine and the whole thing becomes even more brilliant.

Characters

Joan

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Joan, looking dazed and confused in her 80s’ do

A former elite soldier (I like her already) who prefers to hide her military past (I can relate to that), Joan is level-headed and kind (okay, the comparison ends here). She is very likeable and is the kind of good, helpful person most people would probably want in their lives, she has a bit of a dark past because of her extreme sense of justice and duty, which brought her to hurt someone she loved. That makes her rather emotionally stiff, but never stupid or flat. Her protectiveness makes her a leader to the rest of the gang and a big sister to Donna. Just like for all main characters in this story, her personality and motives are masterfully portrayed and revealed very organically within the story.

Donna

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Donna begging

A young teen from Oklahoma, Donna has a complex relationship with her older sister, Dallas. The two have diverging opinions about their parents, and this conflict is at the very basis of Donna’s leaving home. Although the dynamics between the two sisters brilliantly emerge when they finally meet, I find Donna’s character development to be a bit on the weak side. She’s sweet, she’s lost, she’s looking for a real family and a better sister figure, this is all very clear, but not much more substance is emerging, at least in the first 33 pages released at the time of this writing. I am hoping to see a bit more work put into this character, as I think it would add a lot to the (already amazing) story.

Dallas

Dallas, being her cool, violent self

Dallas, being her cool, violent self

Wild, violent, gutsy and prone to shoot people on a whim, Dallas is a thrilling character and a great counterpart of Joan. She hates her parents and loves her sister to the point of destroying her family while trying to protect Donna. She travels across the States to find her, gets hired as a cop, breaks any basic rule you could ever think of, kills anyone who gets in her way (except for young girls – probably because they remind her of Donna), and manages to look cool, independent and powerful the entire time. Her motives are shown slowly and the poignant, terrifying reunion with Donna is something not to be missed. In short, Dallas is a deep and terrific character – my favorite one.

Plot, dialog and pacing

This is easily one the best plots I’ve read in a very long time. Supported by a powerful and tight dialog, it follows parallel threads that advance the story seamlessly, constantly leaving me wishing for more. The speech quirks and accents of each character are impeccably woven into the plot, making the characters unique and incredibly enthralling. Importantly, I saw very few typos, and they had to do mostly with Spanish (cajones – which means “drawers” – in place of cojones – “balls” – , for example).

Pacing is beautiful: scenes are so tight, they leave readers breathless – as they should, since this is a clearly fast-paced crime story. In only 32 pages (admittedly, longer than your common standards), Hot Coffee managed to develop so much of her story, it puts to shame many self-absorbed authors that rely on pretty art, ridiculous filler pages (like QA for characters that have been around for 2 panels) and the slowest, ass-dragging pacing ever just to capitalize on art, given their stories are, well, crap a bit on the shallow side.

Readers are in for a marvelous ride.

Art

The lowest point of the comic is art. Quite honestly, I despise it. If I had simply run into this story, I wouldn’t have read a single page (so, I’m very happy Hot Coffee asked me for a review). It’s not just that I generally don’t like simplistic art. It’s the colors, the wobbly anatomy, and the style itself that really kill me. Facial expressions are good enough, emotions are conveyed decently, and you can see that Hot Coffee has put a lot of work in this comic, because it’s not a random sequence of panels slapped together and the art, admittedly, progressively improves. It’s all good, and it shows how far an author can go when s/he works hard and believes in her/his passion. But I’m hoping for Hot Coffee to at least tone the colors a bit down, because they can cause serious eye damage and I’m afraid they are turning away readers.

Conclusions

Hot Metal Miami is a favorite of mine. If you enjoy fast-paced, tarantinesque, noir crime sagas, look no further and don’t forget to subscribe like I did, because this comic has…

Sekhmet’s seal of approval

When I subscribe to a comic I review, that comic receives my seal of approval as a warm encouragement to everyone to subscribe and support it, too. So, there you have it! Subscribe to Hot Metal Miami and support it!

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Check out Hot Metal Miami, and vote for it on Top Web Comics!

© 2017, Infected Blood Comics

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