Following a bestselling book series and critically acclaimed television show, the first issue of Jeff Lindsay’s “Dexter” 5-issue miniseries hit the shelves with high expectations. The opening issue assumes the reader’s familiarity with the original book series, at times refusing to introduce characters or their relation to the titular character until much later in the story. Lindsay, with artist Dailbor Talajic, starts strong with a bold, engaging opening that unfortunately loses speed against muddled plot details and stagnant artwork.
The opening finds Dexter just where readers like him to be: in the middle of a kill. This establishes an effective and engaging hook for the story, pulling the reader into action right from the get-go while providing a sense of Dexter’s cool, methodical drive to kill. In the tradition of the book series and the show, Lindsay writes the issue from Dexter’s perspective, reinforcing Dexter’s personality through his chuckle-worthy dry humor. Dexter’s characterization is consistent, familiar, and easily the best part of this issue. Over the first three pages, Dexter and his shadowy Dark Passenger ramp up the adrenaline for a plot that becomes lackluster in comparison.
Talajic’s bland artwork further weakens the issue with its inconsistencies. With few exceptions, each of the characters possesses about two facial expressions: straight-faced or smiling. While this works in some cases, like with Dexter, not all of the characters in the story are designed to be so emotionless. Likewise, many of the characters look extremely similar with only one or two defining traits, as with Dexter and Steve Gonzalez; the only difference between them seems to be skin tone and nose structure. Additionally, characters change to fit individual panels. For example, while Dexter appears to be only a few inches taller than Rita through most of the issue, Talajic makes him more than a head taller than her because it better suits the layout in one panel. While the artwork is average at best, Ive Svorcina’s colors liven the issue with bright hues for the reunion. In one instance, they even help clarify one of the time jumps with an effective sepia tone.
Although “Dexter” has several kinks to work out, Lindsay does deliver an interesting story by establishing an intriguing mystery that functions as the heart of the miniseries. The first issue certainly ended on a strong cliffhanger that will keep readers interested. At times confusing and bogged down with cliched dialogue, the “Dexter” miniseries has potential to improve nonetheless. Fans of the “Dexter” book or television series will especially enjoy this new chapter in their antihero’s life.