Review – Basketful of Heads #1 (DC Black Label)

A Horrifying Tale Beings In Basketful of Heads #1

Basketful of Heads #1 is the first issue in a new miniseries from DC Comics. The series is going to run for a total of six issues and is one of the darker series – falling solidly under their new Black Label.

June Branch was a happy and outgoing girl before her life changed forever. Before that day, she had her whole life ahead of her. But that was before four deranged criminals invaded her space and took her boyfriend hostage.

The first issue of this harrowing series will introduce us to June and her life before that all went down. As you can probably tell from the cover alone – this series promises to be delightfully dark and dangerous. I know I certainly don’t envy June or the journey she’s about to embark on.

Writing

 Basketful of Heads #1 was not the issue I was expecting, and I mean that in the best ways possible. I knew that this series was going to be a dark one. But what I hadn’t expected was the amount of effort put into making us care about the characters in the story.

Almost the entire first issue is dedicated to June Branch and her life before; well…let’s just call it the incident for now. June is bright and bubbly. It’s rather hard to picture her walking around with a bloody ax.

Joe Hill did an excellent job of subverting expectations in this first issue. And with forcing an emotional investment out of its readers. As if that wasn’t enough, the series somehow made the mundane, the bright and sunny days of summer foreboding. That takes effort.

Art

Basketful of Heads #1 is one of those issues that’ll force you to do a double-take. The series starts off with images similar to the cover but then does a 180, presenting us with a bright and sunny setting. It’s jarring, but in many ways, it added to the intensity of the tale that is bound to follow.

Leomacs was the lead artist for this issue, and they clearly went for a rougher stylized take on the artwork. The style matches perfectly with the tones of the story itself – all raw and emotional. Meanwhile, Dave Steward provided the coloring. And I feel like he should get a lot of the credit for making a sunny day creepy. After all, it was his color palette that set the tone.

Finally, Deron Bennett was the letterer for the issue. And his lettering was both unobtrusive and a stylistic match for the artwork inside these pages.

Conclusion

Basketful of Heads #1 was a fascinating beginning for this series. It wasn’t as dark or as disturbing as I expected – but there’s little doubt in my mind that those elements are on their way. I also have no doubt that we’re going to pay for our emotional investment in the characters. Series like this are always good at making you pay the price…

It will be interesting to see how this tale unfolds over the next five issues. There are plenty of directions that they can take it in if they so desire. Based on the twists already thrown at us, I doubt it’ll be the predictable path they choose.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Review – Deadpool #5 (Marvel Comics)

A Lesson of Monsters and Men in Deadpool #5

After a brief break, it’s time to dive back into a world full of heroes, monsters, and insanity. That’s right; it’s time for Deadpool #5. Somehow Deadpool is still holding on to his title of King of Monsters, but how long will his reign last?

Admittedly, this whole plot arc started off feeling like another Deadpool joke almost. But the longer it runs, and the more we see Deadpool interacting with his subjects… the more it seems to fit. Perhaps his reign will last longer than I thought. Either way, it’s going to be worth reading.

While King Deadpool has been a fun and interesting change with this new series, it’s Jeff the Land Shark who’s stealing the show. Okay, that’s totally my bias showing, as I adored him in West Coast Avengers. But still, it’s fun to see him around once more.

Writing

While the previous four episodes of this series weren’t afraid to dip into something darker, it feels like Deadpool #5 hit me right in the feels. Not because of character death or anything like that – just the level of importance woven into the narrative.

Now and then, a Deadpool series will try to send a message. This time around, it’s a message about monsters and assumptions. It’s quite powerful, so I have to give Kelly Thompson full credit for what was done here.

Don’t worry; this issue isn’t all heavy tones. There are plenty of funny moments to be found (this is Deadpool we’re talking about). Likewise, there are several scenes involving my now-favorite character, Jeff.

Honestly, there’s a lot to love and appreciate about this issue. This is a side of Deadpool you don’t get to see every day. Combine that with what he’s trying to do with Monster Island, and you’ve really got something here.

I honestly don’t know how far the King of Monsters plot is going to get pushed. That being said, I’m sincerely looking forward to finding out. I adore this side of Deadpool and cannot wait to see more like it.

Art

There’s something about this Deadpool series that attacks a large number of talented artists. Deadpool #5 once again has a massive creative team, including Gerardo Sandoval (pencils & inks), Victoria Nava (inks), Chris Sotomayor (colors), and VC’s Joe Sabino (letters).

There is so much crammed into this one issue, so the number of artists involved makes quite a bit of sense. There are some entertaining scenes, some tense scenes, and lots of scenes that require creative thinking.

Even though Deadpool’s face is never shown, there’s still a shocking amount of emotion to be found in this issue. And yes, that’s also taking into account the number of monsters present. The scenes themselves are bright and full of action – just the way we like them.

Finally, I have to say that I really appreciate the way that one character in particular communicated in this issue. It was fun and different but also made complete sense given what was going on. It showed a level of forethought that I appreciated.

Conclusion

Deadpool #5 was not the issue I was expecting it to be – it was so much better. This issue mixed emotions and tones in a way that only Deadpool is capable of, creating a reading experience with a message hidden within. It’s what the fans deserved and needed right now.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Review – Crowded #10 (Image Comics)

The Calm Before the Storm in Crowded #10

Keeping Charlie alive has proven easier said than done. But thankfully, Vita is as talented as she is determined. The Reapr campaign on Charlie’s life continues in Crowded #10, and there’s a storm brewing on the horizon. But will they notice before it hits?

Crowded has been a whirlwind of a series, with our two leading characters getting thrown from one challenge to the next. All while desperately trying to keep Charlie out of the hands of those that would happily turn in her life for a considerable sum of cash.

Crowded #10 brings with it an alarming sense of calm. Alarming because we all know it isn’t going to last. Charlie and Vita aren’t foolish enough to waste it, at any rate. And yet, there is so much happening that only the fans are aware of.

Writing

Crowded #10 features some of the most creative storytelling I’ve seen in a long time. Split into two perspectives; we’re given a complete chance to see what is going on in this complicated world. On one side, we see how Charlie and Vita handle their rare moment of peace.

And on the other hand, we get to learn about the threat to their survival. This perspective was beautifully written, showing off creative storytelling and character development—all while having a heavy feeling of foreboding. This feeling builds throughout the issue.

The entire issue is oddly deceptive. It’s so easy to look at it and think that this issue was a break in all of the tension that’s been going on. But it’s so much more than that. They’re building up to something huge here. And it’s all going to explode sooner rather than later.

I can’t give enough credit to Christopher Sebela for his writing on this issue. It’s brilliant and elegant, showing off finesse and careful writing. And I’ll confess that I’m actually pretty anxious to see how it all pans out.

Art

Crowded #10 was full of surprising moments and elements. And thus, the artwork had to be up to that challenge. The creative storytelling style wouldn’t have been nearly as impactful if not for the artwork that supported it.

Likewise, the subtext was brought further into the foreground, thanks to the character expressions and reactions. It was all perfectly done. Ro Stein and Ted Brandt provided the line art for this issue. Katie O’Meara and Holley McKend did the color flatting for Crowded #10, while Triona Farrell did the coloring. And Cardinal Rae provided their lettering into the mix, rounding out the whole piece.

Also, the cover for this issue made me laugh a lot more than I expected. Well done, Ro, Ted, and Triona, for that one. I can’t stop looking at Charlie and Vita’s expressions.

Conclusion

Crowded #10 was a bit of a diversion from the main plot. And yet it built up so much, proving that there are many more fans need to learn in this series. It also went a long way in pushing forward character development, all while building the tension. It’ll be interesting to see what the next issue has in store, given everything happening.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Review – Deadpool #4 (Marvel Comics)

Monster Vs. Monster Hunter in Deadpool #4

Wade’s reign as the King of Monsters continues in Deadpool #4, but one must wonder how long it will last, primarily when he’s actively being hunted. After all, killing an unkillable king would be quite the feather in one’s cap, yes?

For those that haven’t been following Deadpool’s latest series, here’s a quick update. Monsters have taken over Staten Island, and thanks to a strange series of events…Deadpool has become their king. That in itself is enough drama, but naturally, there’s more to it than that.

Thus far, the sort of chaos that only Deadpool can create has fueled the entire series. All while showing us a different side of the monster community so frequently overlooked. It’s also provided a new perspective on Wade himself.

Writing

Deadpool #4 was a dramatic and entertaining read from start to finish. Kelly Thompson has proven again and again that she knows how to balance the chaos that reigns around Deadpool. More than that, she’s turned it into something both intense and powerful, at times.

This issue includes a dramatic fight that readers have been eagerly looking forward to – we knew that was coming. What is surprising is the amount of impact it carried with it. This is a version of Deadpool we don’t get to see every day.

It’s quite refreshing to see Deadpool go from his quirky ways to somebody weighed down by the constant loss in his life. It’s a reminder that under all of that bravado and banter, there’s a real person.

There’s also a short story at the end of this issue, which is an absolute joy. For one thing, it helps to balance out the tension and sense of loss created by the events that just occurred. For another, it revolves around Jeff the Land Shark (and his previous owner, Gwenpool). It’s adorable and funny and perfect for fans of either character.

Art

The artistic team working on Deadpool #4 is absolutely massive. A fact that shows. The scenes portrayed in this issue are dramatic and entertaining. All with dynamic lighting and tons of little details. Though I might be slightly biased since I love the art style they’ve opted to go with.

Deadpool #4’s artwork was essentially split into two projects. There’s the main plot, and then there’s ‘Jeff & Wade’ (the moment I gushed about above). Working on the first part, you’ll find Chris Bachalo (pencils), Wayne Faucher (inks), Al Vey (inks), Livesay (inks), Jaime Mendoza (inks), Tim Townsend (inks), Derek Fridolfs (inks), and David Curial (color).

Meanwhile, for ‘Jeff & Wade’, you’ll find Irene Strychalski (artist) and Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist). Working throughout the entire issue is the letterer, VC’s Joe Sabino. Their work really unified it all.

Conclusion

Deadpool #4 was every bit as chaotic and entertaining as I was hoping. But more than that, it added weight and import to everything that Deadpool and the monsters have gone through up to this point. It gives us hope for what can potentially follow, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing that.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Review – Crowded #8 (Image Comics)

Are Barriers Being Broken Down in Crowded #8?

Charlotte and Vita are still alive and well in Crowded #8. Okay, they’re mostly well. But then again, how many people have been trying to kill Charlotte? Them being slightly less than okay is acceptable at this point.

This series has had us asking a lot of questions for quite some time now. And while not all of our questions have been answered, this issue does go a long way in starting to tell us that tale. And yes, it’s better than we hoped.

Frankly, I’m just amazed that Vita hasn’t given up on Charlotte by this point. Then again, Vita is very clearly an exceptionally stubborn person. So there’s that. And it has made for an interesting read, so no complaints here.

Writing

Crowded #8 had many different elements in it, but Christopher Sebela did a solid job of balancing everything out for us. There’s action and chaos, of course, but also some character development. Actually, there’s quite a lot of that.

While the evident focus was on Vita’s character, Sebela successfully dropped lots of hints and undertones about Charlotte’s character along the way. Things like how her character acted when she thought she was alone or the expressions on her face. Nothing major individually, but when added together…it starts leading us towards the true character behind Charlotte’s sob story.

The fact that there was this much undertone woven into the plot at all is quite impressive. Especially given the other storytelling methods involved – and the other subplots introduced. It looks like Crowded is getting more complex rather than less. And I couldn’t be more excited about that.

Art

The artwork in Crowded has always been fun. And Crowded #8 is no exception. And it’s no surprise, given how many artists were involved in the project. Ro Stein and Ted Brandt provided the line art, while Triona Farrell did the coloring. Lastly, Cardinal Rae provided the lettering for this issue.

There were a lot of intelligent decisions here. Vita has always had this harsh edge about her looks – but that element seemed all the more striking in this issue. Perhaps in contrast to her backstory revelations?

There admittedly was less fighting in this issue (well, less action shown), but our artists found other ways to be clever about the plot at hand. For example, there were several scene changes throughout the course, and it was always obvious when that happened, as were the perspective changes (much appreciated).

Conclusion

The more I look back at it, the more I realize just how much was going on in Crowded #8. It’s not an issue fans should be skipping! Personally, I’m thrilled with all of the revelations about Vita’s character. And both curious and concerned about the implications towards Charlotte’s character. I can’t help but notice the seemingly intentional contrast between the two.

Crowded has been a whirlwind of a series, one that keeps taking these crazy twists and turns. And while it didn’t slow down in issue eight, it did stop and take a look at some other vital elements of the series. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes in the long run.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Review – Deadpool #3 (Marvel Comics)

Deadpool #3: Long Live the King

Deadpool may not be the first person you think of when you try to picture the ideal King of Monsters. But as Deadpool #3 has once again proven, he’s better suited for the task than you might imagine.

It helps that he’s challenging to kill. You see, the monsters that have taken over Staten Island have a straightforward way of deciding who is king. He (or she) who kills the king becomes king. And since that king is now Deadpool…well, good luck taking the title from him.

Unfortunately, there’s one determined hunter who would like nothing more than to take the head of the King of Monsters. And he doesn’t much care how many monsters he’ll have to go through in the process.

Writing

Deadpool #3 was a highly entertaining read, one that is as full of chaos and sass as you could ever hope for. This is Deadpool we’re talking about, after all. Kelly Thompson has nailed the inane humor and chaotic elements that make Deadpool’s series so amusing.

This is an issue full of drama (courtesy of a particular monster hunter and her tactics for…saving Deadpool?), humor (thank you, Jeff the Land Shark), and combat (thanks to the fact that Deadpool is actively hunted). The balance works so well here, with Deadpool being forced to step up once again. He’s not quite a hero…but he still cares about what happens to those around him.

Who would have thought that putting Deadpool in a leadership position would force him to be more responsible? Though I’d like to give Jeff some extra credit for that (I don’t care if it’s true or not, it’s just funnier to think it).

What is impressive is how long this entire battle has lasted. I’m not sure who I’m more impressed by, Deadpool or his antagonist. Or perhaps I should be impressed by the writing since it left us many opportunities to see bloody battles.

Art

Deadpool #3 is full of, you guessed it, battles! The artists seriously did a great job portraying all of these scenes. Best of all, they managed to infuse the fights themselves with a bit of that Deadpool chaos. The panels are intentionally aligned in such a way as to provide highlights to the significant battle while obscuring other elements. It’s a creative way to portray it, but it works reasonably well here.

The creative team for Deadpool #3 is once again fairly massive. We’ve got Chris Bachalo providing the pencils for this issue, alongside Wayne Faucher, Livesay, Al Vey, Jaime Mendoza, and Victor Olazaba, who all did the inking.

Then there’s David Curiel, who did the coloring. They did a fantastic job, with lots of bright colors and strong use of blank space to balance it all out. Finally, VC’s Joe Sabino provided the lettering, and they had a bit of fun with the sound effects – but it was precisely what the issue needed.

Conclusion

Deadpool #3 was a surprising issue that pitted Deadpool against a classic antagonist, but with unexpected results. It’s so easy to assume that because Deadpool is hard to kill, he’ll win every fight. This whole plot has been a potent reminder of the challenges he can still face.

It’s also an issue full of humor, thanks to Deadpool’s very nature. The supporting characters have also been a highlight—especially Jeff the Land Shark. Who I think should be the next King of Monsters.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Review – Dead End Kids #2 (Source Point Press)

A Dark Tale Continues in Dead End Kids #2

Dead End Kids should win an award for dark storytelling. The first issue captured the attention of its audience and certainly fulfilled the promise of the title. The second issue managed to up the ante while avoiding any predictability that could have been its downfall.

Set in the late ‘90s, this series follows a group of misfit kids as they try to navigate the life handed to them. Their lives haven’t been easy, and if this series is any indication, it isn’t going to get a whole lot easier anytime soon.

Dead End Kids #2 picks up where the previous issue left off, but you may be surprised by some of the twists and turns it takes. The tone is still as dark and eerie as before, and now we have more questions than ever.

Writing

Frank Gogel returned for the second issue of Dead End Kids, and the writing is just as strong as before. Now we’re finally getting into the thick of the plot, yet we still need to learn a shocking amount before any new significant reveals can be made.

Dead End Kids #2 made strong use of flashbacks to tell us a variety of stories. And no matter which direction these tales go, we know they’ll bring us back to the present and our group of misfits. It was actually quite interesting to try and piece together the puzzle ahead of the narrative – trying to figure out what set of events happened to each child (or to their families) and how it fits in with the larger plot.

This issue balanced out the backstory (flashbacks) perfectly with events in the present. Each transition was well-timed and left readers anxious to know more, but not ever crossing a line into becoming actively frustrating.

It was fascinating to see this story develop from all of these different angles. It certainly wasn’t something expected, but that just made the story all the more refreshing – even while we dreaded what would happen next.

Art

I love the art style behind Dead End Kids, but I’m pretty sure I’ve said that before. It has this feel to it – like it popped straight out of the late nineties. It’s perfect for this plot and setting, of course. But it also really did help set the tone.

Dead End Kids #2 had a lot of rapid transitions as part of the storytelling methods used here, yet it was always surprisingly easy to tell when a jump occurred. Part of this had to do with the art style and color palettes used, but the letterer should also get credit.

Nenad Cviticanin was the lead artist for this issue, as like the first one, and Sean Rinehart, the letterer. Criss Madd provided the striking (and somewhat alarming) cover. Together these artists brought the plot to life – capturing the tone and sensation of the series.

Conclusion

Dead End Kids #2 proved that the first issue was not a one-hit-wonder. It continued the tale that captivated readers while adding more complexity along the way. The twists and revelations in this issue made it anything but predictable, leaving us with a true mystery on our hands.

This was a dark and disturbing read on many levels, but it was also shockingly human. To be honest, that’s where this series really shines. And it’s why I know that I personally will continue reading this series even while I fear for what might happen during the next big reveal.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Review – Crowded #7 (Image Comics)

Charlie and Vita are Back in Crowded #7

After a short break, Crowded is back and better than ever. For those that haven’t been following the series, Crowded is set in a world where one can crowdfund anything. Including hits on people, you don’t like. That’s what got Charlie in this mess and Vita by proxy.

Charlie is still not learning from past mistakes, and Vita is still doing her best to keep the dummy alive in Crowded #7. But we all kind of expected that, didn’t we? This series has been an impressive and sometimes comical ride. And hopefully, it isn’t planning on ending anytime soon.

Writing

Man, I hadn’t realized how much I missed this series until the break was over. And yes, Crowded #7 did make it all worth the wait. So that’s something. Like some of the previous issues, this one starts with some action and then takes the time to bring things back around.

Christopher Sebela is the writer, and he’s just been nailing it lately. And this issue is no exception to that rule. While I may have a love/hate relationship with Charlie, I adore Vita and everything about her. I also do not doubt that Sebela wrote both characters with the intent of causing these differing reactions.

Overall, this issue did an excellent job of balancing the action, the humor, and the drama. I’d say that there was probably a touch more humor and effort, but I’m okay with that. At least our unlikely duo has a plan and is progressing towards it even if that progress is on a bit of a sliding scale.

There were plenty of highlights in Crowded #7. The character interactions are one, of course. You can see how much effort went into planning them. But the secondary characters and their actions were also reasonably interesting. And provided the stark contrast necessary for this specific plot.

Art

The art in Crowded #7 was so much fun! I know that sounds like a slightly off description, but bear with me. The style itself has always been loose and free, so it lends well to some of the crazier scenes, including the battles. But this issue takes all of that a step further.

There was a lot of fighting in this issue, but the fights were pretty different from one another. Drastically so. And, dare I say that the artists did a fantastic job showing what the difference in skill can mean in a fight?

Three artists worked on this issue, so it’s no surprise that we got such an intense result. Ro Stein and Ted Brandt provided the linework, while Triona Farrell did the colors. Together they brought us some truly fantastic scenes. And bonus points for all of the wardrobe changes. Can Vita dress like that all the time, pretty please?

Conclusion

Series like Crowded prove why it’s worth it to be patient when a series goes on break. Crowded #7 wasn’t afraid to take some risks or have some fun. I’ve mentioned the fight scenes several times because they were excellent. But the character development and interactions were also amazing, as was all of the artwork in general.

It’s great to see this series going again. And while this issue didn’t end on a cliffhanger, I really am looking forward to seeing the next issue. I can’t wait to see what sort of mess Charlie gets into next!

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Review – Deadpool #2 (Marvel Comics)

A King Will Always Face Trouble in Deadpool #2

Deadpool #2 is quick to remind us of all the changes in this series. But since this is Deadpool we’re talking about, change isn’t exactly a new concept. However, it is full of chaos and insanity.

Staten Island just hasn’t been the same since the King of the Monsters took it over. And by that, we, of course, mean Deadpool because Deadpool is a born and natural leader. Right? On the bright side, he now has Jeff the Land Shark to help him keep things in order.

Naturally, plenty of people out there are less than comfortable with the idea of monsters taking over part of New York. Even more, people don’t love the idea of it being Deadpool, who is in charge of them. And that’s…fair.

Writing

Deadpool #2 is a fun and chaotic issue. It’s full of all the quirks and charms known to Deadpool, but with some twists thrown into the mix. After all, this is a Deadpool who’s trying to become a leader. Granted, he hasn’t been doing a great job of keeping an eye on his people…but he’s trying!

You can tell that Kelly Thompson is having a lot of fun writing this new series. You can see her creative flair popping up all over the place, but especially regarding the characters, she’s pulled into the mix. I’m not going to lie: I adore the addition of Jeff the Land Shark in this series. It’s cute and funny all in one. (I might be biased here since I adore the little dude).

Despite all of the fun and silliness, there is a serious underbelly in this plot. For there are people who are very unhappy with the situation, which usually makes for a dangerous time. But then again, doesn’t power always come with risks?

There was one rather shocking moment in this issue. Well, perhaps shocking isn’t the right word. Deadpool had a moment, and it’s one of those rare moments that cut to the quick. It’s a bit unexpected given what’s going on, but it also fits in well with his character.

This issue seemed to have the right balance between humor, action, and intensity. Granted, it leans a bit more towards the mood than most series, but given who we’re talking about, I wouldn’t expect anything less.

Art

Deadpool #2 should be proud of the sheer number of artists involved in it. And the result was something memorable, so clearly, that was the right choice. These pages are filled with vibrant scenes, some frenzied moments, and more than one cute image of Jeff (there goes my bias again).

Chris Bachalo is the penciler for this issue, and his monsters are so iconic. Combine that with the amount of movement and action he had to include in this issue, and it’s safe to say that I am impressed.

Then there are the inkers for this issue – and that’s where many people got involved. Wayne Faucher, Livesay, Al Vey, Jaime Mendoza, Victor Olazaba, and Tim Townsend were all involved in the inking process for this issue. To be fair, there are many lines and even more going on in this issue than usual.

David Curiel is the colorist for this issue, and his work is fantastic, as always. He made the monsters bright and animated. That shouldn’t be scary, but it honestly works really well here. It reminds me a lot of the monsters seen in Doctor Strange’s series. And I love that.

Finally, we have VC’s Joe Sabino, the letterer for this issue. With everything going on in this issue, the lettering was probably a bit of a challenge this time around. But he found the right balance and placement for everything, so it never once felt cluttered.

Conclusion

Deadpool #2 was a surprising mix of events and emotions, but the end result was something new and yet so utterly Deadpool. The decision to add new characters (primarily cameos from other series) was an excellent call, as Deadpool is at his best when he has people to interact with.

The conclusion of this issue is one of those moments that will make readers anxious to get their hands on the next issue. It isn’t a cliffhanger. But it is a surprise twist like only Deadpool can produce.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Review – Dead End Kids #1 (Sourcebook Press)

Introducing a Dark Murder Mystery in Dead End Kids #1

Dead End Kids is a new series from Sourcebook Press, and it is dark. In a good way, of course. The series is based in the late ’90s and follows a group of misfit children who need a break in life. Which, of course, means they aren’t going to get it, or there wouldn’t be much of a point in this series.

The series is advertised as a dark mystery, and after reading Dead End Kids #1, I can already tell just how accurate that description is. So get ready for an emotional roller coaster – one that I’m sure will be worth it.

Writing

I was surprised by how quickly Dead End Kids established the setting, characters, and core of the plot. It was actually quite impressive. And it left me eager to read the next issue – always a good sign.

Dead End Kids #1 starts off on a dark note. It starts right off the bat by telling us some of the worst that was to come before jumping to an earlier point in time. I personally enjoy this tactic because it allows a series to hit the ground running and then go back to build up the tension. Plus, I’m not ashamed to admit that I like the warning for heavier moments.

Frank Gogol did an excellent job of introducing us to and developing the four main characters. These four misfits are clearly vital to the story, and each one has a unique background. But because there was so much to be done, they really only had a page each to give us an idea of their past. Yet Gogol managed to do it perfectly.

As for the main plot, I’ll admit that I’m intrigued. Even knowing what was going to happen (well, some of it, at least), I was still surprised by the impact of it all. And the conclusion certainly left me looking for more. I’m going to be following this series for sure – I need to see how they get out of this one.

Art

I really enjoyed the art style behind Dead End Kids #1. Nenad Cvitcanin did all of the heavy liftings for this issue, providing the lines and coloring. It’s so easy to forget how unified a series can look when one artist is running the show.

I love the color palette, as well as the style in general. Even without being told that this series was set in the ’90s, I would have been able to tell from Cvitcanin’s art. The items, way of dress, and many other fine details are all clear indicators for the time period.

There were specific panels and pages that I loved in particular. The first significant panel just had so much impact on it. And it really set the tone for the rest of the issue. Other moments really caught my attention as well, but none quite like that.

Conclusion

Dead End Kids #1 was a brilliant start to a dark and mysterious new series. I adored what I saw here and honestly am looking forward to seeing more. This one issue did a fantastic job of introducing us to all of the essential elements of the series. And best of all, it left me looking for more.

I’m curious to see where this series leads in the long run. This issue set some expectations, but a lot of it was vague enough where I can see it going several different ways. Admittedly that went a long way in making me more invested in the series.

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑