DEADMAN: BOOK FOUR (DC, First Printing, 2014; Softcover)
Collects the Deadman stories from DC Special Series #8, Adventure Comics #459-466, DC Comics Presents #24, and DC Super-Stars # 8 (cover dates October, 1978- August, 1980)
Writers: Len Wein, Bob Haney, and Gerry Conway
Artists: Jim Aparo, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, with inking by Ric Estrada, Dick Giordano, and Frank Chiaramonte
I really enjoy DC's macabre-tinged superheroes like Deadman. For those of you unfamiliar with the character, he is Boston Brand, famed circus acrobat who was murdered and given a second chance by Rama Kushna to balance the scales between good and evil by possessing people's bodies to fight for justice. It's a concept that is simple yet has many nuances to it. I especially enjoy Deadman's plight, the alienation aspect of it. No one can see or hear him unless he possesses someone's body.
The first story in this book (DC Special Series #8) is silly. The rest of the stories collected in this book are great. Great writing by Len Wein with great artwork by Jim Aparo and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Adventure Comics #464-466 are my favorites, with Deadman facing off against a rogue member of Psi-Lab One, S.T.A.R. Laboratories' division of paranormal abilities. The team use a seance to summon Deadman to battle what they believe to be a poltergeist. No spoilers here, even on comic books that are 35+ years old.
The string of omissions continues in this line of books. I assume that the point of this line was to collect all of the character's pre-Crisis On Infinite Earth appearances. Previous volumes have omitted Justice League Of America #94, and Forever People #9 and 10. Looking ahead, Challengers Of The Unknown #84 is omitted from Book Five in this line, which is insane since it is the first part of a four part storyline, parts two through four of which are collected in that book! Appearances which are also omitted from Book Five include Detective Comics #500, Batman #337 and 339, and Swamp Thing Annual #2.
DC's Collected Editions Department is lost. Mind you, I compiled this list using the Internet. It took less than five seconds to map out all of the character's appearances in chronological order. I can't believe that the editors who work for DC are so clueless that they don't know how to do this. DC needs to find someone who knows this material and cares enough about the end product to make things complete. I am available...
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.
The OCD zone- It would be nice if DC cared enough about their material to provide extras. Extras like the original cover to the story that wound up as Adventure Comics #464 which was intended to be Showcase #105. That story was shortened from 25 pages to 22, and they could have included the pages that were dropped...but they didn't.
Linework and Color restoration: Most of the linework is excellent, with a handful of pages being off. The coloring...sigh. While the color palette is faithful to the original comics for the most part it is the horrid gradient shade blending which kills it for me. The airbursh appearance looks harsh and completely inappropriate for material of this vintage.
Paper stock: Bright white glossy coated stock. DC can't figure it out. They either use cheap pulp paper or this stuff for their classic material. They should use the stock that Marvel uses for their classic material. This glossy stuff is what Marvel used ten years ago before they figured out that it didn't work.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.