Friday, December 28, 2018

Review: DEADMAN #1

DEADMAN No. 1 (OF 6)

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

LETTERS: Clem Robins
COVER: Neal Adams
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S./$4.99 U.S. for Glow-in-the-Dark cover (January 2018)

Rated “T+” for “Teen Plus”

Deadman created by Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino

“Journey into Death” Part One: “Still Dead... After All These Years!”

Deadman is a DC Comics superhero.  The character first appeared in Strange Adventures #205 (cover dated: October 1967) and was created by writer Arnold Drake and artist Carmine Infantino.  Deadman is a ghost, but he was once Boston Brand, a circus trapeze artist.

Brand performed under the name “Deadman,” his stage persona which included him wearing a red costume and white corpse makeup.  Brand was murdered during a trapeze performance by a mysterious assailant known only as “the Hook.”  A Hindu god named “Rama Kushna” gave Brand's spirit the power to possess any living being, so that Brand could search for his murderer and obtain justice.  Brand's spirit takes the moniker “Deadman,” and he becomes a superhero of sorts.

The original Deadman comic books are most associated with legendary artist, Neal Adams, and writer Jack Miller, the creative team that took over the Deadman serial after Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino created the initial story.  Neal Adams returns to the character in the new six-issue miniseries, Deadman, which he writes, draws, and colors.  Clem Robins letters the series.

Deadman #1 (“Still Dead... After All These Years!”) opens where readers last left Deadman – discovering that the true story had barely begun!  Deadman’s death was unsolved, and even Batman could unravel the fantastic mysteries surrounding Boston Brand.

The story opens in Japan where Commissioner James Gordon of the Gotham City Police Department has arrived as part of a nuclear safety inspection team.  However, Ra's al Ghul's League of Assassins is apparently plotting to kill Gordon, and Deadman has learned that Boston's murder may have been a test for Hook and members of the League.  Will Deadman gets any answers, even after Batman enters the drama and stirs chaos?

The last several years has seen Neal Adams produced a number of limited series comic books starring DC Comics' most popular superheroes, especially Batman and Superman.  I have totally ignored those comic books, but I could not ignore a Neal Adams Deadman comic book.

Deadman #1 is not a particularly good comic book.  Yes, the art displays Neal Adams' signature dynamic page layout and also some nice graphic design that is not as dynamic.  However, the story reads like something undisciplined or unfocused.  Let's be honest:  DC Comics would not allow a first time comic book writer to get away with the kind of clunky and awkward storytelling found in this first issue unless he or she were the child of someone powerful and influential at DC Comics' parent corporation, Time-Warner.

I tried to lie to myself, the first step in lying to you, dear readers, but Deadman #1 is not good.  I hope it gets better, but the first issue does not make a compelling argument that I keep reading.

2 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2017 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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