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PI & Star Maps

Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s The Private Eye is set in Los Angeles in the year 2076. Decades have passed since a global event that came to be called the Great Flood occurred over the span of 40 days in which every bit of digitized personal information became public and accessible to everyone worldwide causing social and political ramifications. Simultaneously, all books in online libraries and other digital assets were irretrievably lost. As a result of such catastropic upheaval the Internet no longer exists. The right to privacy is strictly enforced and people have adopted a new method to maintain privacy through the use of pseudonyms or “nyms”, masks and costumes, often tech based and elaborate, used to create new personas. Journalists have become the most powerful law enforcement agents as part of an independent branch of the government appropriately called the Fourth Estate and the social and legal status of private investigators and papparrazi dropping significantly.

The central character in this story is an unprincipled twenty something man who goes by P.I. or Pi and infrequently as Patrick Immelman which may or may not be his real name. As the name P.I. suggests, he works as a private investigator. He’s in demand on the gray market, thanks to his reputation and an extensive base of satisfied clients. His most valuable tool is an old school Nikon camera though very often relies on his Dreamcoat. Dreamcoats are a popular clothing item which is fabricated with optics that allow the person wearing it to blend into their surroundings.

Pi is an only child. His father disappeared very early in his life, leaving his mother to raise him on her own. She died tragically and the unsolved mystery of her death both his choice of profession and outlook on life. With both parents gone, the responsibility of raising the young boy falls to his paternal grandfather. Being one of the last of the generation from the Information Age, the older man is still obsessed with technology and has never used a nym. Pi rejects the use of nyms on a personal basis and takes a con approach on them in a talk with one of his few close associates. At the same time, Pi wears a domino style mask which resembles one his mother is shown wearing in a flashback scene.

As mentioned above, Pi is amoral when first seen in the story. However, this changes throughout the course of the story as he first reluctantly begins to investigate a client’s murder, after being hired by her sister Ravenna. Clues to her murderer lead to a much larger mystery that would have world wide consequences if not for the heroic efforts by Pi and Ravenna.

Star Maps is also a private investigator and papparazzo and presumably he’s the person who taught Pi the skills to be a private investigator. A scene reveals that he and Pi had at one time been in a relationship. Details of the relationship are unknown though a couple conclusions can be made. Their relationship was passionate and meaningful for both and Star Maps is one of the few people Pi let into his life. Based on their reactions in two scenes they both still seem to be in love with the other to some degree. In this age of pseudonyms trust can still be irreparably broken.

Pi’s first appearance is in The Private Eye #1. Star Map’s first appearance is in #5. Pi’s sexuality like much of his life is ambiguously defined. In issue #3 Pi remembers a sex act during high school with a girl named Becky. How Pi identifies remains a matter of reader speculation while on the other hand Star Maps appears to be gay.

Pi and Star Maps created by Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin. Originally published in digital format at Panel Syndicate and at Amazon.

All rights reserved Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin

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