‘Dead Inside #5:’ Advance Comic Book Review

I’m so used to comic book series going on for at least a couple of years, so it took me by surprise that this issue was the conclusion of Dead Inside. John Arcudi has forced his main character, Detective Caruso, into a situation in which it has to conclude or there will be consequences, and Caruso has positioned herself as the only one who can get it done. Or I should say, Arcudi has put her into this position by making most all of the other officers hot-headed idiots. How Caruso gets out of her predicament - while she promises she’s the only one that can do it with her intelligence - isn’t particularly that creative or even well thought out. It’s level-headed simplicity that wins in the end, which one can argue is missing from law enforcement these days.

That isn’t to say this book is an indictment of the folks in blue. In fact, when broken down, the book doesn’t seem to be about much outside of the mystery unfolding and Caruso’s journey to solve it. Even Caruso’s journey as a character is resolved simply by resolving the mystery.  Nothing feels cheap or thrown away, but this is one of those series I wished had been at least twelve issues long to really dig into who these characters are to each other. In the end Caruso didn’t necessarily learn anything out about herself, but others learned that maybe they should trust in her a little more.

Toni Fezjula’s art continues to be intriguing just to look at, but as the haunting feeling of the book slipped away near its conclusion, I ddn’t feel his style really fit the more conventional elements of the story. The same can be said for Andre May’s hyper-sensational color choices. There are a few beats in which their styles pay off, but overall the synchronicity between writing and art became somewhat rocky.

Overall, Dead Inside has been an intriguing, hard-boiled detective story in a prison system with a complex female character. It is a story I wished would have dug a little deeper either thematically or with its characters, but it dug enough to keep each twist and turn completely satisfying.

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