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.

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