Friday, May 18, 2018

The Dead Hand #2 Review

French Fancy

Written by: Kyle Higgins
Art by: Stephen Mooney
Colors by: Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
Review by: Andrew McAvoy

Wow. The Dead Hand rocked onto New Comic Book Day last month with more rock n' roll attitude than the Rolling Stones prowling on to the stage (yes even now they still rock!). So after an amazing opening installment, I was looking for someone to gimme shelter to allow me to savor this next issue in peace. Will this issue give me satisfaction? Time to Start me up!

Ooh yeah. This issue really gets its Ya Yas out. Okay, no more Rolling Stones puns. Time to be serious. This issue was wonderful. The story was great and the art was great. Let's start with the art. Stephen Mooney and Jordie Bellaire's work really is so good in this book. I really don't know where to start! Well, firstly the work from Mooney really has a dynamism to it. There is a feeling of action distilled into the characters' positioning during the busy parts of the issue. Design-wise the costumes from the flashback elements of the book are just great. Then when we switch into the small town vibe everything is rendered so well to give off the required slightly unreal "middle America" feel. The actual work on the characters is so good because each one has such an individual depiction, and that depictition is consistent from page to page. It's not that it is photo-realistic art, it is great detailed line art but it is so well realized that you aren't dependent upon clothing or costumes or hair color/style to pick out the character, the faces and poise alone are so perfect. Incidentally Renae was particularly well done; like a cross between Claire Danes and Lea Seydoux.

Then to consolidate the great artwork from Mooney, Jordie Bellaire pulls out all the stops for this series. What wonderful colors she produces. They are used to switch from the dark missions in the 1980s, the bright faux small town scenes, the basement interrogation, and even the teenage bedroom of Renae's daughter. That page, in particular, is worth mentioning. What eye-catching work from Mooney and Bellaire, the red t-shirt she is wearing and then the colors in the posters on her wall for Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, etc. I know a hip young lad called Andrew who had a few posters like that up on his wall back in the day. Anyway. I re-read this book and then studied each page, one at a time and every single one of them was interesting and different.

Finally the story. Well, what can one say, except that Kyle Higgins is just really hitting them out of the park with this book? Anyone who reads this site knows that it doesn't just dole out praise if its not warranted. It's writing like Higgins' here that is mysterious, intriguing, perfectly balanced, with immediate character depth, that is what deserves praise in reviews. It is so necessary (and I speak for myself here) to reserve high scores for books like this so that their excellence is marked out. Here Higgins, Mooney, and Bellaire, alongside Cowles who delivers some really great lettering work, are all playing at the peak of the game.

Bits and Pieces:

I gave the opening installment of this series a 9.4 out of 10. This issue marginally exceeds even that issue, not least because it is hard to get a second installment retaining an opening momentum. This book does that. It also delivers two moments that stop you in your tracks, particularly at the end. If this book sustains this quality it is going to be talked about by people for a very long time indeed.


1 comment:

  1. Got Round to reading this, it was top draw, i am still thinking about the ending?