By Toby Litt Gary Erskine, Lee Loughridge & Mark Buckingham
Dead Boy Detectives #2 is the second issue in one of Vertigo’s newest series that spins out of Neil Gaiman’s popular Sandman series, and has so far been a great success. Each issue is proving to a be a lot of fun and if you want a ghost-centric comic with some great focus on characters over action then this Toby Litt-written series is probably your best bet, mainly due to the quality that him and Mark Buckingham bring to the table in this series. It’s fun, fresh and something different, featuring two Ghost children named Charles and Edwin at their school, St. Hilarions, where they were both murdered. The two characters are a great joy to watch and their interactions feel real and genuine, with Toby Litt really getting the characters.
Another character who is developed more in this issue is a tech-savvy sleuth Crystal, who has just arrived at St. Hilarions and finds herself unknowingly being protected by Charles and Ewdin. Crystal gets a lot more focus in this issue and really improves her depth in character as a result – so that by the end of #2 Charles, Edwin and Crystal are all fully formed three dimension characters and you want to get behind and root for every one of them – they’re just that powerful. Sometimes series take a whole arc or more to get you properly invested in the lead characters, but Toby Litt has managed it with Dead Boy Detectives in just two issues. And not only that, the plot is still moving forward at a consistent pace with several developments happening this month – and based on the quality of #2 I will be certainly sticking around for more. This is a welcome break from the superhero books that are on my pull list and like all Vertigo books, is very different. The closest book that comes to Dead Boy Detectives in terms of genre is Coffin Hill – also a Vertigo book, but both are very different in terms of design. If you’re looking for something good and fun to read then Dead Boy Detectives is right up your street.
Mark Buckingham’s artwork is great for the most part as well. It’s solid, impressive and creates a great atmospheric tone for the series, really helping enhance the overall quality of the narrative. Gary Erskine also helps on artistic duties as well with strong colours provided by Lee Loughridge, allowing for an excellent experience that doesn’t fail to disappoint.
Dead Boy Detectives is a book that every horror fan should be reading. Its first two issues have got off to a great start and it is seriously something that deserves a lot more attention than what it’s currently getting – it’s fun and enjoyable. If you haven’t read a Sandman book before (I’ve only read Volume 1) then you can still enjoy Dead Boy Detectives. My only real complaint is that we have to wait another month until the next issue – because I’ve loved the first two issues. It’s just brilliant.