The GeeksverseBaja OGN Review

Baja OGN Review
Published on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 by

Heroes, Villains and Everyone In Between. We look at the new crime noir OGN from IDW.


Published by: IDW Publishing
Written by: Ben Wagner
Art by: Nathan St. John
Lettered by: Tom B. Long
Cover Art: Nathan St. John

This was a very interesting story. It’s billed as a crime noir tale and it certainly is, but it’s more than that. It’s the story of one woman’s goal of getting a house on the beach and the lengths she’ll go through and the lives she’ll effect and destroy.

Wagner does an amazing job with the pacing. At first it seems like a mess, a bunch of parts that aren’t connected and don’t seem to form a complete picture. But as each part unfolds, the pieces all start to come together. Things from the beginning start making sense and we start seeing things from different angles.

The final picture is pretty crazy, how all these people come together and how they crossed paths and affected eachother. In a way it reminded me of the flashbacks in Lost, how most of the characters were connected through interactions in the past, where there were just random passings by that caused big ramifications in the future. In Baja, it’s how being stuck behind someone in traffic can set off a pretty wild chain of events.

The story is entertaining. The plot behind it all is very nice, very noirish. For the most part the execution is spot on. But there are a couple of instances where the story falters and lags and the storytelling gets jumbled.

I’ve never liked it in movies where we see a scene again but this time there’s some bits added to it that we hadn’t seen that complete the story, especially when there’s nothing to indicate that a gap in time occured. A good example of this, and when it works, was in the recent Fast Five. When Walker and Diesel’s characters are dragging the safe we’re told they have a 10 second window and then we see them driving under a bridge. Later in the movie the rest of that scene is filled in and we get to see what happened in those 10 seconds. Seeing it the first time would have ruined the movie and later scenes. But in that case we were given advanced notice by dialogue and scenery (the garbage truck) that something could have been up that we just didn’t see, so when we look back it makes sense.

In Baja the opposite happens. If we had seen the full scene the first time the rest of the story would have been ruined. So it’s understandable that it’s not revealed, but there are no story clues given that there was more to the scene, so when we see it the second time it comes across as tacked on, just thrown there to make the entire story make sense.

But overall Baja is well done. Wagner shows some nice storytelling abilities and I’m eager to see what else he can come up with. The few and minor issues that the story in Baja has can be solved with more work and experience.

Where Baja has it’s biggest issues is in the lettering. In many spots it’s hard to tell who is talking as there are no balloons and alot of floating dialogue. The words also get lost in the art making it hard to read. There’s a narrator to the story, and who it is is pretty hard to figure out as it’s used infrequently and at somewhat odd times, and that text gets lost in the captions. There were a couple of instances where it was hard to tell one from the other.

St. John’s art has a nice noir feel. His storytelling can use some work. In the action heavy sequances it can get pretty jumbled and jarring, hard to follow and not flowing smoothly. The overall look of the book is nice and fits the tone of the book. The style makes it hard to tell some of the characters apart from others, which along with the lettering can be pretty confusing at parts. Like Wagner I’d like to see more from St. John as I think he can only grow as an artist and the issues that Baja has, relatively minor, can be improved.

Baja OGN receives
4 out of 5

The overall story is excellant and Wagner does pretty good with the pacing keeping the story flowing smoothly with all the flashbacks.

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