Most of the time, I get my local comics store guru’s opinion on new comics before purchasing. This time, however, I had read something in Previews about this title, and decided to give it a whirl. Maybe my first clue should’ve been the number of issues that remained on the shelve, weeks after having come out. To be fair, the comic is not bad. But I think part of the problem is that they tried to do too much in this first issue. We have numerous characters introduced, and some, I’m confident, will be of no interest to us moving forward. Likewise, I feel that they tried too hard with the art. Maybe it’s just me, but…

Dead_Boy_Detectives_#1_img_1… it took me forever to figure out how to read this. Okay, maybe “read” is not the right word. I could see that I should be focusing on the grenade, but I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. I saw the helicopter, but I just wasn’t making the connection at first. I thought the helicopter was a part of the media frenzy, and maybe that’s what I was supposed to think. I mean, if they weren’t expecting a helicopter, wouldn’t everyone’s attention be drawn to that, and therefore everyone should be looking up? Seriously, it’s practically on top of the building! At any rate, pages like these had my head spinning a time or two. There were other pages as seen here, however, that left me in awe.

Dead_Boy_Detectives_#1_img_2Forget trying to make sense of it, but I’m fairly certain that is the point. Another thing you’ll notice here as well is the lettering of Todd Klein. You see his name a lot when it comes to comic book lettering, but it’s not often his skills are put to such extremes. Every characters’ thoughts, or narration, are in a separate style of lettering as well as color. It’s a bit confusing at first, but it helps eliminate confusion as you continue. Thus far then, we have lettering: excellent . . . art: a tad confusing at times, awe-inspiring at others, and pretty much mediocre the rest of the time.

Let’s talk about the story. It has potential. We have two boys, both dead, both ghosts, both from very different time periods. Their only connection . . . the school, Saint Hilarion’s, and the simple fact that they both apparently died there. (Side note: Saint Hilarion is a real saint who lived in the desert and suffered great temptations.) Our other protagonist, Crystal, is very much alive. Although, she did have a near-death experience – she returned, but only because our dead boys, Edwin and Charles, saved her from being completely blown to bits. Her first remarks upon returning from the dead are “school” and then “I want . . . to go . . . to a new school . . . Saint Hilarion’s.”

From there we learn more of the past of Edwin and Charles and what their experiences at Saint Hilarion’s were like. We learn that Saint Hilarion’s was an all boys school at the times they attended, and we get the sense that both are hoping it still is. At any rate, they have saved Crystal’s life, and they now feel obligated to return to Saint Hilarion’s to watch over her.

But there is sooooo much more to the story. We don’t yet know what it is, but we see glimpses of things that have us fearing for Crystal, even with the protection of Edwin and Charles. We sense that Saint Hilarion’s has a dark past and an even darker present. Even though we are bombarded with information in this first issue, we are also left on pins and needles, wondering what will happen next.

Overall, it’s an interesting comic. The art (Toby Litt & Mark Buckingham) and coloring (Lee Loughridge) are good, and there are some really nice splash pages. The lettering by Todd Klein keeps the reader knowing whose thoughts are whose. The story itself, by Toby Litt and Mark Buckingham, has a lot of potential. I just hope it doesn’t get too far out there, which I have a feeling it has the possibility to do, which for me, would ruin it. I will be buying issue two to see how it progresses.

Dead Boy Detectives can be purchased at your Local Comic Shop or Clem’s Comics & Games website.

Overall Score
85 %

When two dead boys save a girl's life, she awakes from her moment of death with one thought on her mind: to attend the same school where the two boys died.

Art 85%
Color 90%
Lettering 100%
Story 80%

About The Author

My name is Dianna, and I hail from the land of the lakes, aka Michigan. My full time job has me running a writing center, teaching writing classes (hopefully soon teaching a comics course), and doing all sorts of techy things, since that’s what I did in a previous life.

At this point in my life, comics are both my passion and my research. I am lucky in that I get to combine my passion into my everyday work. But here at Destroy the Cyborg I get to have fun and chat about what I'm reading. Feel free to chime in on my post, even if it's to tell my how dead wrong I got something.

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