Preview: ‘Hope… Under Fire’ – Noir-Crime, Wrapped In Magic, Drenched In Style

by Richard Bruton

Hope… Under Fire is the second adventure for Mallory Hope set in an alternate Los Angeles where magic is part of everyday life. Written by Guy Adams and exquisitely drawn by Jimmy Broxton, this one takes Hope to New York for an old army comrade.

Black magic, alt-history, all wrapped in a classic noir detective tale…

Originally serialised in 2000 AD, this is one that really benefits from collection, allowing the mood and tone of the piece, very much walking in the footsteps of the classic authors of noir-detective fiction with that magical twist, to come to the fore and build over the course of the story.

In the first series, Hope… For The Future, we met Mallory Hope and dropped into this strange world. It’s a world where magic is an everyday thing, where WWII ended in 1942, victory secured by occult means. But it’s a dangerous world, where magic comes at a high price – which is just part of the reason he looks like this:

Former NY cop, now a private detective operating out of Hollywood, Mallory Hope is one of many users of magic, a skilled magician whose life has been destroyed by magic. His wife got too deep into the darker side of magic and she and their young son vanished. But Hope hasn’t given up on them and spends every available hour searching for any trace of them, a search that’s cost him dear. He now lives with the price of going too deep into the darkness, with a demon, Cade, attached to his soul.

Here in Hope… Under Fire, Mallory is back in New York, called there by an old army comrade, Alberto Modi, another magic-user whose dalliances in the black arts have taken him into mobster business. Modi and Hope have form, Modi a big part of Hope getting back from a nightmarish war in one, albeit broken, piece…

There’s a hell of a lot to love here, so much work that Adams and Broxton have obviously put in to make this a spectacularly realised world. And it’s everywhere you look, the tone and mood of the thing is pure vintage noir, but there’s so much here to show us that we’re dealing with somewhere dark and different. It’s well worth a second and third read, so that after the intensity of the thriller dies down a little you can spend time absorbing all of the details that have gone into Hope, all those subtle differences between this world and our own, all just to add to that sense of this place being something dark and different.

And as much as Guy Adams has obviously brought to Hope, Jimmy Broxton‘s artwork is what makes it absolutely pop off the page. Every page, every panel, you can practically smell the cigarette smoke and hear the noises of New York.

It’s a beautifully done, wonderfully realised noir-crime thriller, wrapped in magic, drenched in style and definitely one for the reading list.

Hope… Under Fire – by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton, letters by Simon Bowland and Ellie De Ville. Published by 2000 AD on 19 January 2021. Originally published in 2000 AD Progs 2150-2161.

Now, the first few glorious looking pages of Hope… Under Fire… enjoy!

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