DC brings back one of their classic heroes to give closure to his story. Neal Adams returns to his original breakout series, writing and providing art and color to this new iteration of his first signature character. Boston Brand, once an acrobat and now the soul-swapping hero Deadman, returns to locate his killer. Following Commissioner Gordon to Japan, where the courageous cop is tasked with inspecting Japan’s new nuclear reactors, Deadman finds himself in competition with the nefarious League of Assassins and their clever leader Sensei.
Deadman has always been an interesting superhero. From his unorthodox approach to problem solving to his unfortunate situation (of being dead), Deadman always carried a sharp wit on his adventures. Unfortunately, this new incarnation in the Rebirth universe seems to have lost some of that sarcastic edge that Deadman fans may remember fondly. The book does have him using his body swapping powers with regularity and using each of those bodies to their utmost, however.
A Batty Conclusion
The finale brings in Batman, an old ally of the acrobat, into the story. When the caped crusader enters frame, the interactions between the two heroes are priceless. Seeing them overcome impossible odds with their skills and abilities is always a treat. Furthermore, watching Deadman use Batman’s friends and family to try to communicate his frustration with the caped crusader’s ambiguous goals was a fun ride.
The story is a little confusing in the first few pages because it seems to have a habit of jumping around as much as Deadman does when switching bodies. This old model of allowing the reader to interpret the story can seem a little off-kilter to newer readers. However, the way that Adams’ pages explode with color and motion is brilliant. Neal Adam’s classic comic career talent shows here, and brings back memories of older comics from a bygone era.
Our thoughts on Deadman #1:
Pros: This book has a somewhat washed out color pallet that gives it a unique character in the midst of modern comics. The plot, once you get to the meat of it, is intriguing and leaves the reader wanting more.
Cons: There are parts of the book that require a second read-through to catch some details. New DC fans may be confused by the book’s subtle references.
Overall: This is a must-have book for classic comic fans, especially after Halloween. Newer fans may want to approach this book with some trepidation though, as the storytelling elements can be a little intimidating.