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26 of 52: DC Universe Presents – Deadman

by on September 23, 2011

Deadman

Image via Wikipedia

Why DC Universe Presents? Hmmm. There was a bit of a process of elimination. First, I eliminated those writers whose work I never really have enjoyed (and BOY was that a smart move, based on the Internet’s reaction to a few of those books). Then I eliminated titles that never really caught my attention, or that I found particularly compelling. So that left the list down to 5 titles, after selecting Batman #1 and Wonder Woman #1.

So, I went with Paul Jenkins. A writer who has always delivered quality work that I usually have enjoyed. I haven’t read Paul’s work in years, but he always has an intelligent mature tact to take with a character. So even though I’m not a huge fan of Deadman, this seemed like the best choice.

DC Universe Presents #1 – Deadman: Twenty Questions Part 1
Writer: Paul Jenkins | Artist: Bernard Chang

Deadman was created in 1967 in the middle of the Silver Age. He was a circus acrobat named Boston Brand who used the stage personal named Deadman. Boston was assassinated while performing, but instead of dying, Boston was given the chance to walk the earth, and take over peoples bodies to help them better their lives. He would often take over bodies and communicate with the other DC Universe heroes, sometimes helping them out on missions and adventures.

The title is reminiscent of the DC Comics Presents title from the late 1970s which was basically a monthly pairing of Superman and another superhero, similar to Brave and the Bold from that era.

Synopsis

  • Boston Brand introduces us to his life, explaining how he was killed while performing as Deadman, and then was saved to help people by the Hindu goddess Rama Kushna.
  • Deadman has helped many people over the years, some living amazing lives, and some living rather mundane lives.
  • His most recent assignment is to help Johnny Foster a soldier who lost his legs in the Middle East, where the rest of his squadron were killed in action.
  • Deadman confronts Madame Rose a Psychic Medium that he knew from his circus days. He asks her to help him get in touch with The Librarian.
  • Deadman takes over Johnny to help him, but forces a confrontation.

Questions

  1. Does Boston know how close he is to completing his mission? Can he revisit the fulcrum?
  2. Did Boston solve his murder? (I think he did in the old DC Universe, but not sure if he did in the new one)
  3. Will Dove make an appearance in this series, or is this title independent of the happenings in Hawk and Dove?

Analysis

A very tight episode and a great introduction to Deadman. Jenkins wrote a real gem.

I wouldn’t say that it was better than any of the other DCnU comics. However, it may have accomplished its purpose the best. You could read this issue knowing NOTHING about the character of Deadman, and find it perfectly enjoyable. It’s basically Quantum Leap and Ghost combined into a single character.

The twist, if you want to call it that, is that the character seems to be going along with the plan just fine. Boston does not seem tortured. He doesn’t’ seem desperate. He seems confused and unsure about his future. So to twist that at the end with a drastic action to get attention, is interesting. I hope there’s a real payoff with Boston’s plot development.

Whenever I find a name in the DCnU, half of me wants to look it up on Wikipedia and find out whether that character was used in the old universe, and the other half says sit back and let the story tell you all about it. I’m leaning towards the later, with The Librarian, but I’m tempted to look her up.

The artwork is really well done. Bernard Chang gives very nice characterization and quality to the images in this book. I was impressed.

I’m not a fan of Deadman. He’s fine as a character. I’ve seen him play vengeful, and tortured, and light and funny. So this is a clever take on him.

Showing the variety of lives that Boston Brand has taken over was really really effective. I got a great feel for the character and what he has been going through. It was clever and well done.

The only negative from the story, is that I’m not sure how Deadman helps these people in the long run. Does he take over their lives, and then they just resume after he’s fixed them. Are they somewhat aware of the actions that Boston is taking in their body, and they are able to continue the new path that’s set out. That was left rather vague.

Verdict

Oh, I’m definitely in on this title. I wanted to turn the page and read more. Was captivated from each page turn (or mouse click).

A

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From → Comic Books, DCnU

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