In the wake of Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC rebooted or tweaked a number of its characters. In some cases, you had the from-the-ground-up approach of Superman and Wonder Woman; in other cases, you have the “soft reboot” approach where the character is more or less who he/she was before Crisis but with some adjustments made for the new DCU. I think that’s what they’re doing here with Deadman, although I have to admit that I really haven’t read many of the character’s comics and only grabbed this because when I saw it in the bins, I remembered the really cool house ads for it and didn’t think I could go wrong with art by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez (praised be his name).
As a result, I have to say that I was a little bit lost upon issue #1 because it is, as is explained in the text pieces that take the place of a lettercolumn in this series, the continuation of what Arnold Drake and Neal Adams had begun in Strange Adventures and just the previous year had been reprinted in a seven-issue Baxter series. In spite of coming in late, I was able to feel like I caught up enough to follow the series.
The story is basically that Boston Brand spends some time in his brother’s body, which gets his brother killed and is then drawn into a plot by a villain named Sensei to destroy Nanda Parbat. This involves intrigue and murder at the circus and international mystery, action, and adventure that reminds me of some of Batman’s 1970s adventures (and I know that Deadman and Batman have had their share of team-ups). Andrew Helfer writes a very dense four issues that take time to read, but I have to confess that I didn’t mind reading them because Garcia Lopez’ art is so absolutely gorgeous that I wanted to take in every single panel. And knowing that Neal Adams did the art on the stories preceding this, I want to see if I can track down either a trade of the original Deadman stuff or that Baxter reprint series from 1985.
In the very least, I’m taking this with me to Baltimore Comic-Con to get the artist’s signature.
Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?