The Dead Hand may be one of the coolest spy dramas I’ve read in some time, mixing superheroic characters who are embroiled in a mysterious plot. That plot is more or less revealed in the second issue, which makes the usually small spy drama a whole lot larger. We’re talking end-of-the-world larger.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“COLD WAR RELICS,” Part Two. Mountain View’s secrets continue to unspool, even as Carter and Renae fight to protect Roger from the outside world…with deadly consequences.
Why does this matter?
Writer Kyle Higgins has been writing quality comics for some time with some excellent Power Rangers titles under his belt. Artist Stephen Mooney draws excellent adventure style comics and is suited for this story. With their powers combined, you have a slick spy drama.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with a flashback, dropping readers into Carter’s world of espionage. He’s sporting a star themed suit and quickly takes out a few baddies. Higgins writes captions that draw you into the character’s point of view quickly, setting up the fact that espionage is not a field where trust should ever be counted on. It adds a layer of dishonesty that makes the big reveal in the final page all the scarier. Later we cut back to the town Carter has been playing sheriff in along with his other spy comrades and it’s clear they’re all playing parts in a narrative that they weren’t meant for. Pretending to be the perfect mom, the calm and collected sheriff, or the average joe passerby isn’t in their blood. It’s a big reason why this narrative is so intriguing.
As the plot shifts back to the stranger who entered their town in the first issue we come to realize there’s only so much of their nature they can hide. In an interesting side vignette, Higgins and Mooney reveal super spy Renae and where her allegiances lie. She’s like the Black Widow if she had nothing to lose and nothing to truly fight for. Depicted in a double page montage splash, Mooney reveals different sides of the character. It’s a poster-worthy double page layout. She’s frightening and shows us how frightening she can be later in the issue.
It’s not until the last few pages do we realize the why of this town and its hiding spies. These scenes, rendered in blue light as if Carter is in some kind of horror film, helps show why the townsfolk are so on edge. It’s in these scenes that we see this small town tucked away in Siberia is possibly sitting in on a mission that is bigger than any spy mission.
It can’t be perfect can it?
In a sense, it’s a good thing, but I was left wondering where we go from here. If this were a Twilight Zone episode it could easily end with this issue. Considering the main conflict is taken care of in this issue I have no idea what happens next. It makes me want to pick up the next issue, but it also leaves me wanting.
Is it good?
A good issue that doesn’t hold back reveals, story progress, or plot turns you won’t see coming. This is a spy drama with a twist and one that’s very well suited for an adaptation to television.