Mark Russell is one of the most important satirists working in fiction today and Deadbox continues to be proof of this. In Deadbox #2, Russell takes on the idea of the American Dream and how it manifests itself in small town settings, the places where Americans go to keep their national myths alive. Also, monkeys are learning how to behave around bananas in this chapter’s Deadbox movie, titled “Can I Have a Banana Now?”
Deadbox #2 follows a man and wife that visit a fair filled with that very conservative Southern charm, Confederate flags waving and such. The man comes across a cheap pair of purplish/pale pink pants that he says look like the ones he used to wear in college. He buys them, puts them on, and is immediately labeled as queer, much to the horror of the Southern man. Cue the public outrage, the shunning, and the Christian judgement stares.
As is the case with the first issue, the movie that accompanies the main story reflects on the problems faced by its characters. This one’s about how monkeys take to punishment and rewards to better control the simian population. You can piece together rest yourself. It’s an amazingly rewarding process.
Keeping with the anthology format is paying off for the book, allowing it to wade into deeper waters with different characters while also making sure the story feels interconnected, if only by a panel or two showing an already established character from before. The movies are the connecting agents that bind everyone together.
The script’s genius comes in how it addresses preconceived notions of what’s acceptable and American and what isn’t through comically frightening situations that put readers in places they are painfully familiar with. It’s exaggerated and even ridiculous, but never that far from reality.
Benjamin Tiesma’s art continues to hold its part of the storytelling quite well. The character work in particular shines as Tiesma prefers to portray people with just the right amount of caricature to keep them from being mere punchlines. They feel like real people despite the funnier aspects of their looks and they all radiate a humorous energy that’s both impossible to look away from but also hard to watch.
I could go on and on about Deadbox and how it gets progressively funnier the scarier it gets, but the beauty’s in the discovery, in decoding the satire. Bottom line is, you need to read this book. Comics shelves become smarter when it’s on display.
Story: Mark Russell Art: Benjamin Tiesma Colors: Vladimir Popov
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10
Recommendation: Buy, read, and laugh all the way through to keep from screaming incessantly.
Vault Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review