Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Deadman #2 Review and **SPOILERS**



G-G-G-G-Ghosts!

Written, Drawn and Colored By: Neal Adams 
Lettered By: Clem Robins 
Cover By: Neal Adams 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: December 6, 2017

**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**

I imagine that a ghost can’t really haunt another ghost, but they can probably be very annoying. “There’s Harold again, with the chains. When is he gonna give it a break?” There are probably curt smiles exchanged in spectral hallways, polite banter at the ghoul coffee machine, but for the most part they keep it protoplasmically professional. Let’s see how the other half doesn’t live, shall we? Check out my review of Deadman #2 by Neal Adams, right here!


Explain It!

There is no peaceful rest for the deceased of the DCU. You won’t be dead five minutes before one or more comic book haints come knocking on your coffin lid, looking for a favor. Or worse, you’ve be reincarnated as a baby when Boston Brand breathes his spook breath through his cracked lips right in your face. This is what caused the Sensei to erupt from his infant trappings and battle Deadman on the ethereal plane, almost besting him before his ministrations threatened the life of the corporeal body. He slinked back into the tubby kid, but continued to spit epithets at Deadman in baby talk…where’s Sugar & Spike when you need ‘em? Tortured by the development of his mentor-turned-nemesis having come back as a child, Deadman rages in a three-panel progression that should be a shoe-in for the Weirdie Awards. All that hollering grabs the attention of a fellow who needs no and rarely gets any introduction: the Phantom Stranger!
The Stranger is as elusive and cryptic as ever, annoying Deadman so much that he cold cocks him in the face. We’re not even halfway through the issue, and there’s already been two ghost fights. The Phantom Stranger is no fighter, however, instead directing Boston back to the Hills Brothers Circus, where his twin sibling Cleveland is maintaining the high-flying trapeze act that Boston helmed before his murder. There, he’s able to stop a similar attempt on Cleveland’s life, but one of his wire-act cohorts is shot through the chest by a high-powered sniper rifle. Deadman chases this hood and hops in a cop’s body to riddle the crook with bullets. Seems the crook was sent by the Sensei, and lives through the hail of lead because he’s wearing a Kevlar vest.
And this—yes, this is the point that things get strange. Hopping in circus strongman Tiny’s body, Deadman chases down the murderer and confronts him, eventually punching him right in the dick. This shatters his pelvis, and Deadman follows up by punching dude right in the sternum, breaking his rib cage. Isn’t socking someone’s Johnson enough ignominy? After tossing the thug into a circus trailer containing a lion, the Phantom Stranger shows up…and then the Spectre…and then Etrigan. It’s getting to be a regular Dead Man’s Party! Seems the Spectre is there as an emissary of God and Etrigan as an agent of the Devil…and they’re sure to have one heck of a chat in the next issue.
Once again, Neal Adams presents a very strange but compelling story, the violence contained but excessive where applied, and of course Deadman looks appropriately tortured when shown on-panel. I think this is some of Neal Adams’ best artwork in recent memory, and in terms of page layout this comic book is a master class. In terms of coherence, however…well, it’s understandable, just very intense. There are no small emotions in this comic book, it is all the most hideous sides of anger and the most wrought expressions of anguish without anything in between. All I can say is that you either dig it or you don’t, and I do. The only fellow missing from the end of this issue is Gentleman Ghost, but there are still four more to go and I am not taking anything for granted.

Bits and Pieces:

Some intense spectral battles and a devastating beatdown on the grounds of a circus gives way to a meeting of some of the DCU's most famous folks from the afterlife. The emotion is keyed really high in this comic, which might turn some people off. But if you can stand the dizzying effect of these high-flying feelings, then you might find this trapeze act to your liking.

8/10
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