Here we have another brand new series from Vertigo: Dead Boy Detectives, a sort of continuation of the characters from Sandman. Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of that series, I’m not going to let that effect my opinion. Let’s see what this one has in store. Is it good?

Dead Boy Detectives #1 (Vertigo)


Edward Paine and Charles Rowland are dead, but that hasn’t stopped them from being boy detectives, solving missing children and pets cases. In an attempt to move up to bigger cases, Charles saves a young girl named Crystal’s life from a grenade. However, while doing so, she manages to see them both and notices the Saint Hilarion School emblem on Edward’s jacket. From there, things take an interesting turn.


As a first issue to a brand new series, this was decent enough. Writer Toby Litt introduces and characterizes the characters, in particular Crystal, quite well, and sets up the plot the series (or a least this arc). Other than that, Dead Boy Detectives #1 doesn’t do much else besides this setup. It should be noted that there was sort of a prequel to this comic that was told throughout a few Vertigo anthologies that featured the Dead Boy Detectives themselves and there also a couple of other stories that featured the characters as well. I never read them before and from the information given in the comic, I feel they could add a bit of extra backstory. You don’t need to read them (though I recommend at least reading the Sandman issue that is sort of the origin), but they might be a good idea.

The rest of the writing is okay, even if the story is a bit boring. The dialogue is fine and there are a few good lines, but otherwise it’s kind of forgettable. It’s paced well and gives every scene enough time to play out and make its point. There are a few interesting hints for future events in the story that have some potential and should make the audience a bit curious. Other than that, there is not much else to say.


The artwork is by Mark Buckingham, who you may know from Fables, and his art looks pretty good here. The characters look decent and unique from one another, his panels transition well (I do like the hospital scene quite a bit), his locations are lively, and there are a few nice layouts. I do like Lee Loughridge’s colors on the book — they really accentuate the images and make them pretty to look at, as well as vibrant. There are even some decent subtle bits with the colors as they transition in some scenes. A nice looking book overall.


  • Decent setup with potential.
  • Should appeal to fans of the characters and concept.
  • Artwork looks pretty good overall.
  • Requires a bit of extra reading before starting.
  • Hasn’t really begun yet and is mostly setup.

Is It Good?

Dead Boy Detectives #1 is an alright book, but it is mostly in the realm of setup, having not gotten started and just putting the piece into the right places. Maybe hold off on buying this book right away until the second issue gets out, cause otherwise there may not be much here for the reader.