TRADING UP: HOTWIRE Radical Comics Review

hotwire requiem 2
Posted on: January 22nd, 2012

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Radical’s Hotwire series was dreamt up by the fevered brains of Warren Ellis and Steve Pugh, and it shows. It’s exactly what you would expect would happen if two socio-politically-minded British creators who have both worked on Hellblazer sat down to write a mini-series about a punky exorcist working for the police in a futuristic, technology-dependent unnamed British city.


The series, written and drawn by Pugh, centres on Alice Hotwire, a genius detective exorcist responsible for policing the ghostly ‘blue-lights’ that have started walking the earth. Raised by scientists and refusing to give in to sentimentality, Alice constantly rubs up against the conventional thinking of ‘most folk’, refusing to trust the artificial intelligence that controls most of the city and not even admitting that these blue-lights are anything so fanciful as ghosts. She’s a stubborn, unpopular presence in a police force that finds her job creepy at best, but she finds an unlikely ally when she’s teamed up with homicide detective Mobey in the mini-series Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead.


Ellis and Pugh have dreamt up a completely believable future England, a word of data clouds where cars can’t crash, machines fix themselves and the human race is even less handy than we are now. It’s a world where American slang sits alongside British insults and the same petty interdepartmental politics that hamper the police force today are still bugging them decades on. The blue-lights add a fantastical element to the story, but everything else is alarmingly possible. In Requiem for the Dead, the police force are even dealing with a massive riot caused by a case of reported police brutality, drawing unsettling parallels to the recent London riots, even though this series was written two years before those took place. It gives the book a level of relevance and social commentary that perhaps may have been missing if you read the book a year ago.

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I'm a script writer and film maker who also writes for @starburst_mag and @badhaven. Occassionally I sleep, too.

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