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Detective Fell

"You hear that? Every time you take one... I'm going to take one back."

One day, Warren Ellis thought to himself that comic books were, comparably, a pretty expensive hobby. Spend the same amount of money on a movie or book, and not only would you be entertained for a longer period of time, but you'd get a whole story arc, to boot.

Picking up artist Ben Templesmith, fresh from an exhausting run on 30 Days of Night, Ellis proposed finishing a complete story arc in every issue, aided by a nine-panel format.

Fell is a Police Procedural centering around a detective who transfers to the slum-like Snowtown, a so-called "feral city" - largely lacking an organized government providing such things as running water or child protection services, populated by drug dealers, murderers, psychopaths, man-eating packs of de-domesticated dogs and one crazy nun. There, he must deal with a Crapsack World of Black and Gray Morality.

Templesmith's murky and unsettling art lends a complementary mood to the Darker and Edgier comic. However, Detective Fell is not an Anti-Hero, nor does he fail to gain the reader's sympathy. The dark themes in the comic tend to be less epic and more subdued.

Fan reaction to Fell has been largely positive, not in the least due to an appreciation of Ellis' desire to keep prices down but still deliver a complete story with good art, and not resorting to cliffhangers or slow pacing to increase profits.

Tropes used in Fell include:

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  • Improbable Weapon User: Detective Fell shot a man who was in the process of filling a grocery store's produce with sharp objects. "It was self defense. He was armed, after all, with Death Bananas."
  • Klatchian Coffee: The "Death Coffee" from Mr. Yang the Food Pervert. "He melts a Hershey Bar into a pot of filter coffee, pours a 16oz and then drops a depth-charge of espresso on it. And maybe crystal meth. I don't know what feels worse: having one Death Coffee per day, or skipping it."
  • Noodle Incident: How did Fell get himself sent to Snowtown?
    • Also, Helen alludes to the fact that at her new post in Snowtown, no one knows about "that time with the axe", a story Fell seems to enjoy telling, but sadly we don't get to see it.
  • Oddly Small Organization: For all the crime in Snow City, the police force has only four and a half detectives (the half is one detective without legs).
  • Orphaned Series: Ellis' other commitments have caused more recent issues to be pushed further and further back.
  • Schedule Slip: The last issue came out in January 2008.
    • According to Ellis via his message board, his main writing computer and backups failed, and the data-recovery company that he sent his hard drives to promptly vanished off the face of the Earth. Many of Ellis's current projects were on those hard drives, including Fell and Newuniversal.
  • Story Arc: Though each issue is self-contained, there are continuing elements, including the mystery of why Richard was transferred.
  • Unsound Effect: Fell for some reason likes to say the words "retch" and "puke" when engaging in said activities.
  • Vomiting Cop: Not from the crime scene itself, but from when the coroner, who's eating a tomato, accidentally drops it in the victim, then takes it out and eats it anyway.
  • Wretched Hive: If you've read up to this point, do you need to ask?.