Finder Vol 1: Third World
Writer/Artist: Carla Speed McNeil
Publisher: Dark Horse
From the get-go, Finder immerses you in a world so rich and filled with diverse characters (and, er, species) that there were times I felt as lost as the main character.
There’s no city, village or skyscraper that the main character, Jaeger, can’t infiltrate; and he does so with superhuman precision. While Jaeger’s world seems somewhat normal at first, it becomes clear that there are various clans and creatures, all with distinct cultures and roots.
As a halfblood Ascian (say it fast and it sounds like “a skin”), Jaeger has abilities both feared and misunderstood by others – even he doesn’t fully understand why. There’s a moment in the comic where he worries about a friend’s gene-sniffing “dogs” that may reveal who and what he is when he doesn’t even know himself. Said friend is a professor… and a dinosaur (see what I mean about species?).
As a “Sin-eater” he is both outcast and essential to his tribe. A scapegoat of sorts, he ritualistically “eats” the pain and guilt of others, finishing the ritual by walking to find water. There’s no direction – he just walks until he finds it.
Jaeger acts as an impromptu tour guide in the story, jumping to different landscapes and cities in his job as a courier for X-Ray’s Couriers, delivering everything from souls in a jar to something that looks like the ghost trap from Ghostbusters.
Daunting and fascinating
The sci-fi world is both daunting and fascinating. While the tale starts in the futuristic city of Anvard, it ends on a cliffhanger in the disease-ridden city of Javecek.
The plot may sound a bit weak – follow a deliveryman on his errands! – there are hints about Jaeger’s origins and true identity, as well as plenty of intraspecies tension.
There are indigenous tribes who seem to live on the fringes and whose land and culture are dying out. Their bodies are kept in museums (one subplot involves a character trying to get his mother’s skeleton back).
As Finder is an Eisner award-winning series, I had high expectations of it.
The art is certainly beautiful – each place that Jaeger visits is distinctive, its citizens myriad and exotic. The different indigenous tribes all have their own look and you can tell that some are based on actual cultures.
McNeil has put a lot of thought into her art and the story. Everything is so detailed, even the footnotes – all 13 pages of them.
Reading Finder with no prior knowledge of the series, I found it a little overwhelming to take in everything in Jaeger’s world.
In a way you’re just as lost as Jaeger is about who he is (and in my case, what’s going on and where it’s heading). It becomes clear that he is being followed, and by creepy “men” with fingerprints as faces, no less.
There are some comedic moments, though, such as the opening scene with Jaeger undergoing a job interview.
When asked about his job five years ago, Jaeger replies “Security”, when in fact he was a bouncer “pulling drunks off drunks”. Clearing bloodied bodies becomes “Housecleaning”.
It’s a beautiful world that McNeil has created for Jaeger to live in and one that has fans raving about it (seriously, just Google it). Would I actively seek out the second volume? Maybe not.
I would, however, like Jaeger’s ability to never get lost. Wouldn’t you?
Finder Vol 1: Third World is available at Kinokuniya, Suria KLCC. Call 03-2164 8133 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.kinokuniya.com.my