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‘Dead Inside #3:’ Advance Comic Book Review

The first issue of Dead Inside by John Arcudi and Toni Jejzula was enough to peak my interest. The story of Detective Linda Caruso who, after a series of promotions and demotions, finds herself working at a Jail Crimes Division. Immediately, we’re treated to the aftermath of a gruesome and bizarre murder in the Mariposa prison between inmates. A scrawny prisoner manages to kill someone 10 times his size. Everyone thinks it’s an open-and-shut case - everyone but Linda. Every corner she turns, she’s met with resistance until she finally finds a crack in the façade that opens the case back up. Where the first issue made me curious, issue two had me hooked.

As she continues her investigation, the murder plot takes some deft twists and turns. Meanwhile, the train wreck that is Linda’s life continues to slowly float to the surface. This is a small population of people. Linda’s home is on a plot of land that feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere, even though there are neighboring houses. It’s an eerie setting as the drama of neighbors and friends in a place where everyone knows everyone starts to ramp up. The space around Linda feels more like a cage.

With the first big plot developments out of the way, the third issue left me saying “WTF” in a good way. The personal cage around Linda’s life tightens as the murder plot becomes even more bizarre. This has quickly become one heck of a story.

Toni Fejzula creates elongated bodies, ever so slightly dis-proportioned. This gives faces and body shapes a haunting appearance on the page, like these characters are trapped in a nightmare that will never end. I haven’t been able to get the image at the end of issue two out of my head, and I read that a month ago.

André May’s colors further that haunting dreamscape. The shadows create an expressionistic quality on faces and bodies. To contrast that, the backgrounds have a stark, realistic nature, almost mundane. The same can be said for the penciling style. While the bodies and faces feel loose and alive, the backgrounds are detailed with straight lines and angles. This contrast between expressionistic and realistic allows for the characters to jump off the page. I think that’s what makes every emotion feel that much more heightened.

The end of the third issue spun me for a loop. I have no idea where this is headed, but I’m more than game to continue. Dead Inside has surprised me in the best ways possible, and I can’t wait to see what happens a month from now.

Last modified on Monday, 13 February 2017 17:41

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