Published on September 2nd, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
The Dying And The Dead #3 Review
If there’s one thing Jonathan Hickman likes it’s Secret Societies, and if he can stick in a recognisable face or two so much the better.
But before we look at the comic itself let’s just take a moment to acknowledge the short apology/explanation from Mr Hickman himself at the end of this issue. In it he explains why it has taken so long for this issue to come out and (from the sounds of it) why the next issue won’t be out until next year; although they will return to a monthly schedule in 2016. I think it’s a good thing that the creators take a moment to engage the readers in this way, it helps a little bit to keep us all on side. People who are regular readers of Hickman books are probably used to a delay or two, his SHIELD comic for Marvel still isn’t finished (there are however rumblings that it will be finished this year) and even the mega event story Secret Wars has been held up but on these smaller, creator owned titles delays of months can kill a comic. If you don’t have this on regular order the chances are you’ll miss an issue, it’ll come out and pass you by and then you won’t be inclined to buy future issues.
Issue 2 of The Dying And The Dead came out in April, so you will be forgiven for not remembering what happened. As it turns out, the latest issue contains none of the characters introduced in the first two issues. It’s almost as if this is a filler issue; a story set between two arcs which is a narrative technique that Hickman employs for most of his stories, but it seems too soon for this story. The Baduri are introduced in their full glory and the secret history of the World is told by another secret society buried in the midst of the Second World War (comprising of Adolf Hitler and the Japanese Emperor Showa no less). The entire issue exists to introduce the special weapon that was forged to kill the Baduri and, eventually it ties in nicely with the end of issue 1.
There’s not much to say about the secret history of the World, it’s an entertaining myth but nothing especially new and the use of the Axis of Evil as the secret society is money for old rope at this point. It reads like a chapter in an adventure story, something that could have Indiana Jones as a lead character and it has that going for it. Add to that the fact this issue can be read on its own very easily, you don’t have to read the first two issues to enjoy this, and it has a couple of selling points at least.
The best thing about this issue is the artwork by Ryan Bodenheim. He constantly produces highly detailed work and also has the ability to make character representation look easy. For the large part the script is unnecessary and this is highlighted in the opening of this issue where the first four pages contain very little speech. The contrast in appearance between the barbaric ancient Man and the serene Baduri is beautiful and makes this comic worth reading. It’s just a shame so much of the story is set in a basement with people eating and talking.
The colouring in this comic however is growing a little tiresome. The flat, single colour washes work for a period of time, if you are wanting to separate the modern day from a flashback for example, but to use it constantly throughout an issue adds nothing to the story telling. The only time the colouring really works is on the Baduri where there is no colour at all. The pure white of the characters give them the supernatural air that they deserve.
All in all this is an entertaining, if not outstanding, issue of a comic that I feel is suffering from delays. I think that this issue wouldn’t have happened yet if the monthly schedule had been maintained. Hopefully when this returns next year, with a regular schedule, it will attract more attention and become one of Hickman’s must read comics, like East of West.
Title: The Dying and The Dead
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Ryan Bodenheim
Colours: Michael Garland