DEAD LETTERS #1
Written by Christopher Sebela
Art by Chris Visions
Color by Ruth Redmond
Published by BOOM! Studios
Noir with a phantasmic twist. I know what it sounds like: a bar drink. Dead Letters is a masterful drink you order at the bar, before you slink into a corner to plan a sneak attack on those hunting you. It’s such a unique combination and the newest way Christopher Sebela and Chris Visions will be winning you over this week.
In this book we meet Sam, while Sam is meeting himself. Usually, in a noir, the gumshoe is constantly asking questions to analyze the scene and unfold the mystery to solve. Sam’s biggest problem though is that he is his own mystery. Deadly shoot outs, questionable characters and Sam’s own slowly restoring, yet selective memories, unfold exposition throughout the pages. The whole time more information is revealed the action and tension never stop. New layers are added and the unusual pieces of the puzzle begin to be revealed.
At this point it seems almost a crime to reveal anymore about this tale. One of the most fun and surprising pieces of knowing about this story are all the reveals, surprises and twists. Noir always has a mystery to be solved, Sam being part of his own mystery he is trying to solve was delightful to discover. Don’t chalk that one up to a spoiler, since it’s a reveal from the very first page, first panel. However, the story is littered with small reveals that seem to build to a grand crescendo of plot twist. As with all noir, the clues are there for the clever to see and guess rather quickly. So the fun is not being completely blown away by the final page reveal, but the delight in knowing you read the clues correctly and questioning where the story will go next.
Vision’s art is breathtaking with a combination of clear outlines, but rough details. Redmond uses this to provide clear distinctions between the diverse cast of characters. While there are plenty of gradients and muted shaded backgrounds throughout the book, each character is provided with a unique color palette and personality. The big players seem to be a combination of troupes to provide a unique look that feels familiar but is still it’s own character. Fans of classic detective and adventure films will have fun thinking about possible inspiration combinations. Visions uses creative panel layouts to emphasize movement and chase scenes, or highlight poignant looks that provide great character moments. The sleaze, grime and crime all masterfully take center stage.
If Sebela and Visions can continue to masterfully collaborate with such surprising, inspiring and hair-raising plots, there is no doubt this series will become a hit.
The Verdict: 10/10
Check out the preview on Comicosity now!