Review: Dead Boy Detectives #1
From the pages of The Sandman, Neil Gaiman’s dead boys get their own monthly series! As fans of storybook detectives, Edwin Paine (died 1916) and Charles Rowland (died 1990) will take on any and all mysteries—including their own untimely deaths! The dead boys head back to St. Hilarions, where bullying headmasters continue to rule the school. But when they investigate the lingering mysteries of their own deaths, they meet a young girl named Crystal whose tech skills and strange link to the undead earn her a place as a new detective. Dead Boy Detectives is a fast-paced adventure series that takes us from the bustling streets of contemporary London to Japanese-inspired video games and dangerous worlds perched somewhere between the now and nevermore.
I didn’t read the original Sandman comics, so I came into this first issue with a complete blank slate. But, Vertigo as an imprint has a great track record of publishing amazing comic books that are high quality. While I liked the first issue of this series, I can’t say I was completely blown away by it.
The series, written by Toby Litt and Mark Buckingham, starts off with this weird performance art heist that might be a real heist, I’m still not quite sure, and the detectives stopping it. But, since I never read anything with them previously, I had no idea what they could and couldn’t do. So, as far as I knew they were really alive, it just took me a bit to figure out they were dead. So, there’s probably a lot folks who know about these characters pick up that I don’t.
The story is good, but nothing really blows me away. I’ll definitely check out the second issue, but like some of Vertigo’s other series, this one seems to be a slow starter. That’s not necessarily bad, because many of the imprint’s comics have started this way and have become modern classics.
The art is really solid. Buckingham and Gary Erskine have produced great art to look at, even if you’re not totally into the comic itself.
The issue was a good first issue, but not excellent. Overall, my gut says that after a few issues, the series will be, and that it’s just a slow start. Maybe folks who are more familiar with the characters will enjoy it more, but for me, it was only ok.