Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter novels have been a hit and the Showtime series has been an even bigger one. Now Lindsay has brought his devilish creation to Marvel, with an all-new story written by Lindsay himself. Major Spoilers sat down with some duct tape, plastic wrap and knives and gave it a look.
Continuation of the novels
Dexter’s wit and humor shine
Continuation of the novels, requires previous knowledge
Previously in Dexter: Dexter Morgan is a simple man who asks for little in life. Just some time to himself, away from his job as a blood splatter analyst for Miami P.D., so he can kill those guilty of horrific crimes.
I HOPE YOU’RE UP TO SPEED
-Though the site is called Major Spoilers, I will warn that there are potential spoilers ahead for the TV show. Don’t say I didn’t tell you…-
As a first issue, Dexter #1 is a bit of a mixed bag. It does a good job of setting up the story and giving the reader a look at Dexter’s personality but also requires that you be familiar with the books. This story is a continuation of the novels, with no connection to the popular show. Fans of the show reading this will likely be confused as there are many differences between the two, the biggest being that Rita doesn’t die in the books. Any new readers looking to get into Dexter’s world will be completely lost as it requires some knowledge of the characters and story.
Having read all the novels, I had no problems jumping right in and having Jeff Lindsay as the writer certainly helps. He knows Dexter and his personality and voice are consistent with what has come before (though Dexter is a little more arrogant in the books). His dry sense of humor is perfectly on display, especially at his high school reunion where his observations are actually quite true. Lindsay makes the transition from novels to comics fairly well, though I did miss the complete insight that comes from Dexter’s narration in the books. All the other characters are written just as well but I predict Deb, Dexter’s sister, will have less of a potty mouth due to Marvel’s publishing.
There are some missteps, such as some reunion attendees’ actions being extremely juvenile (Even drunk, I don’t think people run around in togas at those things, but I could be wrong). Lindsay also appears to be mixing in elements from the show, like Dexter’s killing attire being devoid of a hooded mask. Many readers will likely only be fans of the show, so that is to be expected, but with so much else relying on material from the books, it’s a strange choice. The story itself is a little bland, only becoming intriguing near the end. The Dexter novels unfortunately all follow the same story structure. Dexter kills, Dexter goes to work, complains about the Miami traffic and learns there is a new serial killer on the loose. He then sets out to find said killer where an entanglement ensues resulting in said killer’s demise, ending with Dexter searching for his next kill. If there’s one change I’d like to see, it would be that but Lindsay seems to be sticking to that pattern. All in all, I’m still interested in where it will all go next so I’ll be picking up the next issue.
MAKING IT FIT THE COMPOSITION
Dalibor Talajic’s art was the biggest disappointment for me. His main problem lies with his characters being drawn to fit the composition and layout. Early on, Dexter is only a few inches taller than Rita but later on can rest his chin on the top of her head. Proportions like this fluctuate often making for a disjointed look. Details are very minimal, leaving lots of the book appearing flat. My favorite thing was Talajic’s depiction of Dexter’s “Dark Passenger”. When Dexter’s in the middle of killing or having evil thoughts we see a dark ghostly shadow behind or even engulfing him. This is exactly how Lindsay has described it in the past and it was great to see it portrayed here the same. The coloring is bright and helps the story when changing from past to present and even from setting to setting. Overall, though, the art was a let down for a character I wanted to see well portrayed in this medium.
BOTTOM LINE: NON-INITIATED NEED NOT APPLY
If you’re looking to get into Dexter’s dark world, this isn’t the place to start. This comic requires you be familiar with the characters from the books. Even those only having seen the show will be somewhat lost as there are significant differences. As a first issue for a previous reader I found it a suitable start, if not all that thrilling. It succeeded in making me want to see where the story goes from here but failed to knock it out of the park. Lindsay’s writing strengths come through here but so do his weaknesses. And while I enjoyed the book, I don’t know that I could say the same for a new reader. That’s unfortunate because Dexter is a great character we all should be disturbed by. Dexter #1 earns 2.5 out of 5 stars.