BOOM! Studios’ ‘Profane’ Is Not Your Average Detective Story

Break out your magnifying glasses and pipes, ‘Profane’ is a murder-mystery you won’t see coming.

This review was made possible because of an advanced copy of Profane #1 provided to Agents of Fandom by BOOM! Studios.

BOOM! Studios has been on a tear with its comic releases. From its biggest hits like Something Is Killing The Children, to newer stories like Uncanney, the publisher isn’t afraid to take big swings. Their latest title, Profane, promises to be a mind-bending thriller diving head first into the genre of murder mysteries.

Superhero stories aren’t the only thing that have dominated the comic book landscape for nearly a century. Horror, sci-fi, and mysteries have been a mainstay of the medium for decades. A good murder mystery always leaves the reader guessing, and Profane takes early swings at the usual tropes for the genre but quickly takes a fascinating turn.

The Familiar Setting in ‘Profane’ Is Meant To Distract

A plethora of characters, and suspects, lined up in 'Profane #1' | Agents of Fandom
Will Profane is set up on a mystery that even he may be unable to solve. Image Credit: Mike Deodato Jr.

Writer Peter Milligan and artist Raül Fernández set out to create a simply classic world. A smokey, grimy city seemingly stuck in the midnight hours is set as the backdrop. A monologist detective who insists on solving a crime, yet, he can’t even remember the last 24 hours. This can be an overdone trope for the genre, however, like many good murder mysteries, the twists and turns add to this debut issue’s bite.

Will Profane serves as the protagonist of this story. Milligan sets up a veteran detective with a constant, sometimes droning, monologue in his head, incredibly talented at solving a crime but also easily distracted at the sight of a beautiful woman. Falling within the usual tropes of many detective stories, Will also has a unique ability.

Profane has a scrying ability, using old and worn objects to look deeper into its past, similar to Cal Kestis’ force echo ability in the Star Wars games. He uses this to discover a shocking truth about himself and the world around him. This leads him to a case that is nearly impossible to solve. Fernández’s portrayal of this ability is crafty, emphasized brilliantly by Giada Marchisio‘s colors. Marchisio shifts the world to a mono-soft-blue shading, making it clear that Profane is using his unique gifts.

‘Profane’ Sets Up Its Twist in a Brilliant Way

Honor De'Ath, a love interest and potential villain of Profane, is ready to take on the detective. | Agents of Fandom
Plenty of obstacles stand in Profane’s way, including Honor De’Ath. Image Credit: Marguerite Sauvage.

There is a saying that “a mystery is only as good as its twists.” While that ideology doesn’t always prove to be true, the twist in Profane is quite clever in a way that only comic books can show. Jeff Eckleberry‘s letters serve as the key to unlocking the secret fairly early on.

While a common font is used for speech bubbles throughout the issue, it is extraordinarily hard not to focus on the Times New Roman font for the ongoing monologues, especially considering the ridiculous amount of monologues from Will Profane throughout the issue. At first, it is immediately strange. This type of font is typically used in everyday novels, not comic books.

As the story progresses, the decision by Eckleberry seems nothing short of brilliant. The world that Milligan and Fernández build fits together wonderfully with what Eckleberry portrays in his letters.

BOOM! Studios Hits The Mark Again

Detective Will Profane is in shock over finding a dead body. | Agents of Fandom
If there is to be a murder mystery, there is going to be a dead body. Image Credit: Raúl Fernández.

Having a successful first issue for a series is always one of the hardest things to accomplish. The writer has to get the reader invested in the new world in just a few dozen pages, and the artist must portray the environment well with the colorist and letters setting the tone of the landscape. A great first issue of a comic book accomplished all of these things.

Profane may struggle a bit in its first few pages, with its ongoing monologues and intentionally confusing story format. But, as the issue goes on, the story unravels in mysterious ways that leave the reader wanting more. It is safe to say that Profane has a successful first issue in this regard, and fans are eager to learn if Will Profane solves the case.

Grab Profane #1, in stores and digital providers now. Follow the Agents of Fandom socials for the latest entertainment news, reviews, and coverage.

'Profane' #1 Review

'Profane' #1 Review
4 5 0 1
4.0 rating
Total Score

The Good

  • Peter Milligan creates a clever twist that few can see coming.
  • Solid art from Raúl Fernández, with Giada Marchisio's colors, create the perfect landscape for this story.
  • Jeff Eckleberry's incredibly smart letters serve as biggest clue to the mystery.

The Bad

  • Although intentional, the overdone monologuing can be repetitive taking away from the visual medium that comics offer.
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