The Sandman Universe: Dead Boy Detectives #1 – Pornsak Pichetshote, Writer; Jeff Stokely, Artist; Miquel Muerto, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: The Sandman Universe has gone in all sorts of directions in recent years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is its ability to pull in some of the top talent in comics. Former Batman writer James Tynion IV is currently telling a dark tale of the Corinthian, and now acclaimed indie writer Pornsak Pichetshote is making his DC series debut with a revival of one of the quirkiest concepts from the universe—the Dead Boy Detectives, a pair of ghostly English lads who both met their ends at the hands of cultists and now solve crimes from beyond the grave. It’s a very dark concept, of course, and yet Edwin and Charles seem just about as grim as your average boy detectives from an old children’s serial. That’s what makes this book work—as dark as the stories around them seem to be—and they get pretty dark—the boys seem like genuine friends trying to make their way in a strange world.
But Pichetshote is an acclaimed horror writer, making his debut on the multicultural urban ghost thriller Infidel years back at Image. So this is a first issue that gets pretty grotesque from the start, right away when a young boy watches as his 9th grade crush starts transforming into a horrible phantom directly out of the works of Junjo Ito. But the boys don’t know about any of that yet—instead taking on another case involving a girl who disappeared. They follow her to a strange little commune of ghosts, as it turns out that the traditional English ghosts aren’t the only ones hanging around anymore. The art on this issue by Jeff Stokely has some truly disturbing scares waiting for us, and the ending seems to set up a new dynamic for the boys—only to completely upend it in the most traumatic way possible. It’s a great way to kick off a new series and set the stakes high for our undead detectives.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.