Dead Eyes is back after a twenty-year hiatus. Much has changed, but Dead Eyes hasn’t, meting out beatings to those who deserve it. But why is he back on the streets, bringing fresh terror to those who deserve it? And can Dead Eyes relive the glory days, especially when his hemorrhoids are playing up? Find out in our Major Spoilers review!
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Art: John McCrea
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Editor: Will Dennis
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: October 2nd, 2019
Previously in Dead Eyes: The masked vigilante Dead Eyes ran riot in Boston during the 1990s, taking down the rich and the criminals (frequently both) in an orgy of blood and violence. And then he disappeared. Those salad days were good, but now they are gone. All his ill-gotten gains are spent, and with a wheelchair bound wife to support, Martin pulls on his Dead Eyes mask and goes back to work.
BETTER TO BURN OUT, THAN FADE AWAY
Superhero comics are populated with characters that never age – as the decades roll by, their wardrobe and topicality change, but essentially, they are always the same age, facing the same villains. You might get the occasional character, like the Punisher, who is relentlessly a product of the Vietnam War, and is rising 70. But usually, if you’re Batman, you’re always 35. You get what I mean. So, much of the fun to be had reading Dead Eyes #1 is witnessing our titular vigilante donning the mask once more, only to come up against the unrelenting effects of the passage of time.
With his ill-gotten gains spent, Martin has to return to work. He says it’s so he can case the Wal-Mart style store, but realizes everyone plays by plastic, and there are no rivers of cash flowing through the business for him to steal. We’re treated to one side of writer Gerry Duggan’s approach to Dead Eyes #1 – biting satire and humor. We listen in on Martin’s internal monologue, as he compares his ‘meet and greet’ role to having died and gone to Hell (he’s not wrong – watch those people at the front of your K-Mart or Target, and you will see someone dying a little inside each time they say ‘hi.’)
It’s when Martin recognizes that a customer’s purchases add up to them disposing a body, that Dead Eyes #1 shifts from being (relatively) gentle fun and goes really, really dark.
FULL DARK, NO STARS
One reason to read Dead Eyes #1 is the fine work by artist John McCrea and colorist Mike Spicer. There’s starkness to McCrea’s art that fits in well with the story Duggan is telling. Martin is portrayed as your average Joe, a working stiff struggling to put food on the table and ensure his ill wife gets the best care she can. Seeing Martin hollering about his hemorrhoids in the bathroom is both funny and confronting, displaying the reality of a masked criminal’s existence in the real world. Mike Spicer’s work comes to the fore in the latter pages, where Dead Eyes hunts down the customer at night. Long shadows and threatening silhouettes abound, which add to the menace of the situation Dead Eyes finds himself. And what he finds under the stairs will change his life and bring fresh attention to the return of Dead Eyes.
BOTTOM LINE: TOUGH STORYTELLING
Dead Eyes #1 is a fine crime story with an interesting twist in that the main character has been retired for twenty years, but comes back for more, with consequences that are both personal and professional. Martin is an appealing everyman who just wants to do the right thing by his wife, but his lies about his activities and the response at his return by the criminals he once ripped off threatens the safe life he has carved out for himself.
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Dead Eyes #1
The passage and ravages of time is ably portrayed in Dead Eyes #1, with some fine art and at times amusing writing keeping the story flowing nicely towards a chilling conclusion. Dead Eyes #1 is a strong opening issue that holds the promise of more excellent storytelling to come.