Dead Man Holiday #-1

By | Friday, December 18, 2009 Leave a Comment
Colin Panetta just gave me one of the hardest comics I've ever tried to review: Dead Man Holiday #-1. (Available in these fine comic shops on December 30!) This is the third issue of his series, and concludes what is effectively the prologue to the actual series proper, which will begin with #1 later in 2010. It's a difficult review because the book as a whole is pretty hard to explain. (I've already completely ditched and re-written this post 4 times, trying to put something coherent together!)

The story so far has been... unusual. Check out my reviews of #-3 and #-2 for the basic plot and general set-up. In this issue, Thad has a peanut butter sandwich and is attacked by a giant sludge monster, while a Mexican wrestler rushes to his aid. Oh, and a falcon flies through with a dismembered hand -- that seems like it's kind of important.

In a lot of respects, this issue resembles the previous ones. There's a lot of good things to like about the issue -- Panetta's art being a large part of that. But since it's difficult to tell where things are headed, it's equally difficult to tell how successful the book is. Panetta's narrative is decidedly more ethereal than most stories and with that dream-like quality also comes the potential for seeming nonsequitirs. That said, however, this particular issue is more linear than the previous two and will probably make more sense to new readers accordingly.

The story so far has definitely been intriguing, and it looks to be a good set-up for when Panetta really gets rolling with #1. I get the sense that things will really start coming together story-wise with the next few issues. As I've said before, it seems like Panetta's definitely going somewhere with this, and I'm sure that not being able to see that readily will frustrate a number of potential readers. But if you take a more traditionally Eastern philosophy (the journey is more important than the destination) I think there's something here that's worth paying attention to.

The first three issues so far have put some interesting ideas with regards to character and setting. I did find a few minor quibbles with the art in a couple of places, but it's the type of thing that you can totally run with (assuming you even notice) if you're liking the book already and is completely irrelevant if you're not keen on the structure in the first place. The ending of #-1 strikes me as a great launching point for the series as a whole, and I think Panetta has the means to do something really poignant. Even if it's not on the radar of most comic book fans.

Dead Man Holiday #-1 will be available on December 30.
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