If you didn’t already know, on Wednesdays (Aka New Comicbook Day) I work at Richmond Comix on Richmond’s South Side, where they are nice enough to give me a Pick of the Week! I post that pick on Instagram and Twitter, and then review that book/series here on Thursdays! Nick’s Pick this week is The Dying and the Dead from Image Comics!
The Dying and the Dead is one that may have escaped your notice at first glance of the rack on new comic book day this week, but not me. I’m a big Jonathan Hickman fan reading not only his work on Marvel’s Avengers and New Avengers and the masterpiece that’s leading up to the world-changing Secret Wars event, but also his creator owned Image work. Manhattan Projects and East of West are two books I look forward to reading each month they are released, and if you haven’t picked those up, run out and find those collected editions and catch up! These are the reasons that despite not hearing anything about this title, I scooped it up anyhow and made it my pick of the week.
As I opened and read the first few pages of a comic that was thick with pages of high quality paper, it felt like the opening of a movie based on a dramatic novel. Without giving too much away, the story floats back and forth from a wedding and talks about the intimacy and importance of a relationship and the bond it creates between two people, and a woman in the hospital with her husband by her side. Then some unexpected dramatic events take place at each scene.
Each seems to be the set up for opposing ends of the story, but the one we follow most closely and clearly is that of a man referred to simply as Colonel for most of the story. He is the man who sits with his wife in the hospital as she dies slowly of cancer. A pale man dressed in all white lurks in the shadows of the room and promises an opportunity to save his wife. This is when we start to learn what kind of man the Colonel is.
The book goes on to dive into a world of an ancient group of beings, evil secret organizations, and a city beyond the realm of man which is pretty breath-taking in an awesome two page spread! Ryan Bodenheim’s art matches the story incredibly well. There are design elements of the book that Hickman borrows from other works like East of West most notably, but Ryan’s ability to give each individual character a unique feel and personality through just their appearance is pretty awesome!
The one real complaint I could see about this first issue is that there is a lot of setup for where the book is going to go, but limited action. To be clear, that’s not to say there is no action in this book, it’s just not to a point of non-stop action. Yet. You can see in the setup that there will certainly be moments of blowing things up, shootouts, and who knows what else. In the cover alone you see Samurai armor and the Colonel holds a unique looking spear. In the covers for the next few issues we see teases of awesome excitement to come, so the light action intro we receive in this first issue sits well with me.
Between the alluring art, the great dialogue and character interaction written by Hickman, and the pedigree that comes with the creative talent behind this book, this looks to be another title I will anticipate greatly from month to month. If you’re looking for a well-rounded story with a more complex than average plot , and great art, you’ve found it. I realize this one might not be for everybody, but it was a nice change of pace and something new for me that I enjoyed.
Come back next week for more reviews, or check out some of the other stuff here at Blackhole-Comics.com!
The World is Ours to Make!