By Jonathan Hickman, Ryan Bodenheim, and Michael Garland
The Dying and the Dead is weaving an engrossing story with incredibly immersive art. The series has just begun, but the super-sized first issue had provided plenty to ponder as we waited for issue #2. This issue was an excellent follow-up, and really cements the fact that this is a must-read series!
Jonathan Hickman followed the action packed first issue with a bit more character introduction and a lot fewer dead bodies. We meet the men who will make up Colonel Jim’s team and Hickman gives us a team we really feel we can root for. We also end with somewhat of an introduction into what Jim is tasked with hunting down. The storytelling leaves just the right questions to keep the reader’s interest piqued. Hickman’s dialogue is direct and moves the issue forward perfectly. He has tapped some base human emotions especially in the nursing home care worker’s monologue. There is a feel throughout the entire issue that you are reading something real and meaningful. There are not enough words to explain how well this story has been crafted to this point.
Ryan Bodenheim’s art is just as responsible for the emotionally heavy feel of this comic. There are a lot of different faces with very different features and expressions throughout this issue. Bodenheim has done an amazing job creating each character, and imparting them with just the right feel for their part in the script. The emphasis on conveying emotion through facial expressions can’t be easy, but it’s done expertly in this issue. Bodenheim is able to make these characters say so much through so little actual action. From the wrinkles on their faces to the emotion in their eyes, this whole issue is on another level in expressing visceral emotions through the art. The coloring imparts a very unique feel in this issue. Each scene is colored with one or two main shades and they are usually alternated depending on the context in the scene. Michael Garland has done a very good job picking colors to match the scenes. Particularly great choices were the burnt orange when we are introduced to Everette Moss and the blue and white combo on the starlit capitol hill when meeting Phineas Fairfax.
The Dying and the Dead is a fantastic new Image series and a great example of the greatness that can come from creator-owned comics.