DC Universe Presents: Deadman #1 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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DC Universe Presents: Deadman #1


Writer: Paul Jenkins; Artist: Bernard Chang

Sep 24, 2011 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

DCU Presents: Deadman #1 nicely splits the difference between honoring what came before and going off in a new direction.

The origin of Deadman, a cocky circus acrobat in life and a mind-possessing, do-gooding ghost in the afterlife, thanks to the interference of a goddess called Rama, is recounted in a fine, blessedly brief-yet-effective manner. But the tale also revisits many of Deadman’s past exploits in a way that furthers the story. The Deadman of this book has come to an impasse in his efforts to balance the scales that will allow his soul to move to a better place. In the apparent face of little to no progress, he recounts his frustrations, even with his past successes. At the end, he’s ready to make a change and takes a bold step to do so.

This book, at least so far, isn’t about action; it’s a character study of a man caught in Sisyphus-like circumstances who’s ready to stop rolling the boulder up the hill. It doesn’t lose anything for lack of an adrenaline rush, though I submit that more than one issue of this lofty, introspective tone would grow pretty old. As it stands, this was pretty tightly scripted, and certainly meatier than most of the New 52. Good on Paul Jenkins, of whom I’m not usually a huge fan.

Bernard Chang’s art is moody and clean; not knocking the socks off, but nice enough and a good fit.

I suppose in lieu of a Deadman ongoing series, masking as “DCU Presents” allows the company to pivot the main character or such. That might be a shame; this is a strong first issue with a tense cliffhanger, rather than a bloody one, as many of these relaunched first issues have resorted to. And Deadman is a hell of a cool concept, with one of the best visual designs in all of comics. (www.dccomics.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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June 4th 2012

The series is most associated with the art of Neal Adams, who took over from Infantino after the first story, and the writing of Jack Miller, who succeeded Drake after the first two stories, although Miller is miscredited in several reprints as having taken over the writing after only one issue by Drake.