Dark Horse and Tapas brings you a horror story which is about a girl who uses telepathy that takes place in New York City in Signals volume 1. So apparently, this is the first Tapas webcomic series that I’m reviewing, and it’s published physically by Dark Horse believe it or not. I just thought that I reviewed more than four Webtoon series this year, and to tell you the truth I didn’t expect much, because once I saw that post from The Fanboy Factor where Tapas starts partnering up with Dark Horse is just insane, and of course, Dark Horse is also involved with manga and Space Boy by Stephen McCrannie on Webtoon. I’d figured before I started reviewing webcomics in January, that I would have some knowledge of what the age of webcomics is like, so here I am, reviewing another webcomic series outside of Webtoon about a girl who gained the ability to read people’s minds.
The webcomic, Signals is created by Deandra “Nika” Tan, or call her Nika who is an artist and writer based in Virginia. She created several comics in the past which I can’t seem to follow up, on because most of them are romance and action comics. She created comics such as “Secrets in the Silk”, “Love Debut”, “Ramen Robot Cafe”, and “No Hero” all of them are short stories, but the comic that she focused on is Signals which was originally published on Tapas from 2018 to 2021.
So what’s there to talk about the front cover art of this comic? Nothing. All you see is the main character Mel Song who dresses like a detective. The only good thing that this cover didn’t suck is that she’s holding a paper with her fingers because this is actually a decent crime and mystery comic with a lot of surprises than the other comic where a dumb girl who got framed by touching a dead guy’s body covered in blood. The background of this comic is covered with some smoke with warm colors which is very interesting. When I start turning the first few pages, Nika expresses gratefully, thanking the readers for picking up this book. Apparently, I just picked that up by chance to review, because I just randomly picked a comic title that is very interesting to find out what it’s about. So how does this story hold up in my interest? Let’s find out.
The story starts and right away, the first thing you see on the first pages is the background all scribbled in black ink and everything else is colored the city in purplish dark. I’ve seen some other webcomic artists who use their cheap gimmicks to create 3D backgrounds for their webcomics, but here, Nika just pulled it off, and it looks great on drawing one of the scenes on the Lower East Side. So once again, the story starts at a crime scene where a man has died with a little bit of blood. And one of the people said “This city’s going to shit. I’m telling you, what the hell’s wrong with this place?” I’ve been living in New York as long as I can remember and someone just said that the city is going to shit? I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff happening in the city, I read comics in a New York-themed story before about crimes and stuff, but yeah it’s a New York thing because everything is wrong with this place and I’m still alive, healthy, and well. The weird thing about that incident is how that man got killed in the first place.
The next scene shows a girl named Mel who is a psychic detective who barely has any customers other than some old lady who gives her cookies and forgets to pay. Then a woman named Delliah Martinez asked her for a job to investigate her missing friend by reading people’s thoughts and emotions, most likely through telepathy. Mel uses her powers to look through her heart at what’s concerning her, and apparently, she figures out that her friend is missing. It’s more common these days that there are people using psychics as a use for small businesses, but someone like Mel a psychic detective, she really has some talent and uses that talent as her profession.
Mel’s life is as normal as the others, she loves watching soap operas in her jammies, eating instant ramen, and internet shopping. However, whenever she’s on a case like Delliah’s missing friend, she investigates her friend’s empty room to see what’s going through her mind. When she found out, Julie is in love with Delilah, well obviously they’d been close to each other since childhood and somehow when they got older, they loved each other. Julie has a toxic relationship with her mother because she thinks that Julie would be too good for her mother, but no she had it and left her. Mel takes her time to find out what happened to Julie, she talks to her cousin, goes to some “Pig’s Snout” store, learns that Julie and Dan are dating, and then later on Dan got drugged and died inside the bathroom of his apartment. This is where I should mention that New York has had some problems with some drug dealers around lately and it is very common right now, and it’s happening every time lately it happens between the homeless people who are addicted to that, and the crime goes on. There’s this new dealer called “Cotton Candy” who’s been going around selling drugs and many of them died because of that, it’s probably has to do with that same man on the first few pages of the comic.
Anyway, I have to wrap this up. Mel visits her aunt’s house who lives in Bradbury, she just came all the way from New York to visit her. However Mel didn’t come there for a social visit, she came there for advice about psychics because suddenly she found another one other than her and her father. And that person is hiding under the shadows as if that person is involved in a crime syndicate. Mel had that dream about some boy who never met before who used psychic too to read people’s minds. It’s strange but Mel felt something so uneasy about that dream before, she’s scared of the power that they possess. Her aunt told her not to worry because she should manage through all of her obstacles because she’s stronger than she thought. Back to the Julie case, the police department found out where Julie was working and she worked at some club called “The Shallow’s Nest” which is run by a crime syndicate called “The Council” as if one of the mayors of the big apple can’t do their jobs well enough to keep the city safe. They plan to go undercover to discover the secrets of the gang, the drugs, and Julie’s disappearance. Once they got inside that club, the whole place is really shady because somehow The Council are hiding their drugs around where normal people never looked. Mel just found out who the psychic is and it’s some kid who just saw in her dream and who looks like young Bruce Wayne from Gotham. Once they meet each other, the kid touches Mel’s forehead and sends her to some feverish dream, well rather a nightmare. But the real question is, what’s the secret behind the boy’s power to manipulate people?
The story is quite something regarding how this comic goes that way, and I didn’t expect much. I read so many mystery and crime comics more than I can count. But reading a comic about a psychic detective just blows me away. It draws out the element that this story brings, combined with some crime-solving cases and a woman who’s a psychic and uses that power to read people’s minds. Even though her rival is also using his psychic power it’s much stronger than she thought. Nika’s art style is likely more common to the other webcomic artists that I’ve seen, the character designs often take inspiration from any other Korean webcomics anyone ever read before, and how the characters interact differently than the others, and it’s very fun to look at the characters when they act silly sometimes. But the only thing that I love is one of the backgrounds of the streets in New York that she drew. No matter how I look over those cityscape backgrounds it always leaves me by surprise that Nika drew those based on the East Side, the West Side, well some of the streets that I recognize because I’ve been living in New York for a long time, and looking over at those background drawn by other comic artists around never ceases to amaze me. It’s a really interesting New York-themed comic about a psychic detective, and it’s from Tapas. If you’re looking for a mystery and crime comic about a woman who has the ability to read people’s minds, then this is for you.