There's an enticing mystery at the core of "Garrison" #1. Here's a guy -- a mystery man in a cowboy hat -- who seems to know things. He seems to have some depths to his personality. There's more to him than any of the characters understand, but it's never clear what he knows and who he is.
But the mystery isn't enough. And it's basically all "Garrison" #1 has going for it.
Surprisingly, Francesco Francavilla's art doesn't look as bold here as it has on his "Zorro" pages. His characters look a bit under-rendered at times, not stark enough to be visually interesting, and too stiff to seem like they're doing what they're supposed to be doing. A few of his panels stand out as Garrison throws a left hook, or as Jillian Bracewell, special agent, pauses in front of the video display, her profile recalling an Alex Raymondesque illustration. But much of the issue is ill-defined or awkward, with clumsy layouts and less-than-dynamic action scenes.
The story hints at better things to come, but what we get in the first issue isn't much. It's a mystery man and some government agencies. It's "X-Files" meets the Man with No Name, in the near future. Or maybe it's not that at all. It's impossible to tell after the sparse amount of information we get in the opening issue. Not that a sense of mystery is a bad thing, but the tone of "Garrison" #1 isn't unique enough to make things interesting. It doesn't feel alive. It feels like a prologue to a television show that we've already seen. A bit flat. A bit uninspired.
"Garrison" may yet have plenty of twists and turns and revelations. But after the first issue, I can't say that I care.