Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Dead Hand #3 Review

London Calling

 Written by: Kyle Higgins
Art by: Stephen Mooney
Colors by: Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 13 June 2018

The Dead Hand has been a thrilling ride over the first two issues, bringing us deep into the heart of intrigue and mystery linked to the Cold War. The last issue saw things take a dramatic twist, and the settled state of life in Mountain View became a little bit precarious. Let's see how issue 3 was.

Well, in any good book about spies there comes a time when the British need to get involved to showcase their expertise. We open this issue at a stunningly rendered MI-6 HQ who are concerned about the loss of their agent, who appears to have been the "lost tourist" who met his fatal end in Mountain View. Although the senior officials in Britain don't want to pursue the matter and find out what happened, Ellis (one of their number) decides to go and pursue the matter in isolation, embarking on a perilous solo fact-finding mission without the knowledge of his senior command.

Meanwhile, back in Mountain View we get a little more insight into the mechanics of the location, how it operates in terms of the food supply in and out of the location, the links with the world superpowers and the set up for things like schools, etc. In the classroom, it appears that Harriet's teacher is starting to notice her acting a little strangely, and it is clear she is going to need to be careful about what she knows and has witnessed in the next few issues. The general sense of paranoia has increased this issue and it continues to be a key strength in this title.

Artwork-wise this issue maintains the high standards set to date. There is, however, one sequence that I felt didn't work - and it almost looks like it was spliced in to supplement the issue in some way. Throughout the issue, the background detail, and colors, etc are very intricate and detailed. There is, however, a 2 and a half page intersection where Ellis is fighting with a crowd of assailants and while the principal artwork on Ellis is very good, the background characters and background detail seem both quite sketchy and ill-formed and the color is just a wash of a very unappealing yellow/orange. It's the first bit of the art in this series I haven't enjoyed and is perhaps why it stood out so much. It contrasts greatly with the rest of the pages in terms of eye-appeal.

Bits and Pieces

Another strong installment, with the character roster and background detail, extended again. I have to say that I found this issue to be another solid entry in an intriguing series.


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