Saturday, January 5, 2013

Review- DEADMAN: BOOK TWO

DEADMAN: BOOK TWO (DC, 2012; Softcover)
Collects The Brave and the Bold Nos. 79, 86, Challengers of the Unknown No. 74, and selections from Aquaman Nos. 50-52, and Strange Adventures Nos. 214-216 (cover dates September, 1968- July, 1970).
Writers: Bob Haney (The Brave and the Bold), Neal Adams (Strange Adventures 215, 216, and Aquaman), Robert Kanigher (Strange Adventures 214), and Denny O'Neil (Challengers of the Unknown).
Artists: Neal Adams and George Tuska (penciler on Challengers of the Unknown only)
This is flippin' awesome. Deadman totally rocks. Deadman finds his killer, the Hook, and it was an anticlimactic precursor to Adams' Ra's al Ghul Batman storyline. Sensei and the Society of Assassins are basically the League of Assassins with cheesier motives. Adams ushers in character development, something sorely lacking in many DC titles of this era. Boston Brand's desperation and alienation reach a breaking point, and he possesses a guy and does something really creepy off panel. I'm surprised that that scene made it past the Comics Code Authority. 
Deadman meets Rama Kushna, and his brash, arrogant manner proves to be his undoing. He has found his killer and was free to pass on to the afterlife but instead chooses to stay a living dead man and fight evil. Corny but very cool.
George Tuska's artwork on Challengers of the Unknown is incredible, worlds better than his '70s Avengers run. This was my first exposure to the Challengers, and I thought that the concept was intriguing enough. A quick search shows that there are two DC Archives, an Omnibus (which covers the same material) and 2 Showcase Presents phonebooks. If it deals with the macabre as often as it does in this issue then I have found yet another thing to try and acquire. Why are there so many sweet ass comic books from all eras? Why? Why!?!!
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- A nice trade paperback collection.
Linework restoration rating: 5 out of 5. The film for this stuff is in damn good shape, with one or two spots of linework dropped throughout the entire book. Acceptable enough for a 5. It looks like Adams possibly re-inked a panel or two.
Color restoration rating: 4 out of 5. While faithful to the original color palette, the cheesy gradient shades lowered it a full point. It's annoying when they cut corners like this. The argument usually falls into several camps: The first being folks like me who want things presented as authentically as possible in a “high definition” collected edition format. Another is the “I can't tell the difference” crowd, who have lower standards for restoration overall but likely make up the bulk of the audience for these books, and finally, the “You should be happy that DC lets you buy this stuff. Buy it and like it.” This is the most annoying bunch, as they apologize and make excuses for DC's numerous shortcomings. I totally get that my preferred approach to restoration is the most time consuming and labor extensive (as well as the most expensive), but if they do it once then they should just do it right. We have the technology. There are no more excuses.
Paper rating: 4 out of 5. This has a decent weight coated stock. It is a tad too glossy for this material but is still worlds better than the toilet paper DC used to put in their trade paperbacks of vintage material.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Glued binding. Nothing to get yourself worked up over for a softcover.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. DC's wax coating on their cardstock covers is now as high quality as Marvel's

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