Deadman is back in a bi-monthly series just in time for Halloween. It looks all kinds of classic horror tale stuff, complete with a spooky mansion in New England. Is it good?
Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #1 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The DC summary reads:
Trapped inside an old gothic mansion, Deadman must battle the forces of darkness alongside Berenice, a young woman with a complicated love life who is gifted—or cursed—with the ability to communicate with the dead. Romance, mystery, and evil await in the new, bimonthly miniseries DEADMAN: DARK MANSION OF FORBIDDEN LOVE, by Sarah Vaughn (Alex + Ada) and Lan Medina (FABLES)!
Why does this book matter?
Writer Sarah Vaughn is coming off the excellent Image Comics series Alex + Ada that was introspective into the human condition. What better writer to explore Deadman and the very complex world of the dead? Then you’ve got artist Lan Medina who’s all kinds of good at whimsical storytelling ala his work on Fables.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Just floating about.
Not counting the cover or credits page this is 48 pages of brooding, ghostly creepiness with a touch of the superheroics of Deadman. Vaughn establishes the protagonist as an innocent enough girl who has the ability to commune with the dead. It’s not new to her, but Deadman is, and when he notices that she notices him, things start to kick off. There’s the very natural awkward meeting of the two, but also a complex set of characters in a very creepy house that holds many mysteries. By the end of the book you’ll be excited for what is to come next due to the unique relationship between the main character and Deadman.
I’m curious to see where Vaughn takes the supporting characters Sam and Berenice’s boyfriend. They’re basically introduced (including Sam’s use of non-binary pronouns which may play into the story later given its introduction) but are bound to play big parts. There’s a mystery afoot and Vaughn establishes enough clues to make this a comic you could easily read more than once.
The art by Medina perfectly captures the cold and dark nature of the mansion with Deadman coming off as mythical and heroic all at once. There’s so much damn detail in the surroundings you’ll be pulled into the story as if it were a live action drama. The colors by Jose Villarrubia are subdued, giving the book a darker and simplistic tone with nice pops of color in Deadman and some effects throughout. The lettering by Janice Chiang is also inspired, with a cool black font used for the evil entity and some fun sound effects in one scene for instance, where Berenice swoops down a banister. Together they make for a picturesque experience.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Though well told and brooding, the story does move at a slow clip without enough driving the story forward until the last few pages. We’ll see if the addition of some conflict will ramp it up, but as is it feels like a slow moving mystery that’s creepy as hell.
Is It Good?
All together, this book does well to establish a story that deserves to be told around a roaring fire on a cold night. If you let it, it will give you the perfect chill.