So, yeah, why is this comic called Deadman?
What's the point of calling it Deadman?
If it wasn't any good, then I could see why you would need the name, but it is a good first issue. So, well, what's the point? It's not like Deadman has some huge following so that you would gain attention by using the name. At the same time, though, it has a big enough of a following (as Deadman just had an ongoing not, what, two years ago? Three?) that you're going to disappoint a bunch of people by having a Deadman comic that has nothing to do with Boston Brand at all (so far). So this isn't like some property that hasn't been used in forty years or something.
So, really, this should have been called some other variation using the word "Dead" or "Death." That being said, this was a neat comic by writer Bruce Jones and artist John Watkiss.
The basic gist of the comic is that a man is killed in a crash that he is co-piloting with his brother, who is also a pilot. Apparently, the crash is intentional by his brother. We don't know WHY. Many people die. We get flashbacks to Brandon's life - his childhood, his romances, etc. And at the end of the issue, he wakes up at his autotopsy - dead, but a deadman walking. He then goes to his brother's widow, his own ex-girlfriend, to try to figure out what is going on.
See, that's a pretty neat concept, isn't it?
It's also eerily similar to BOOM! Studio's Tag, which is about a man who becomes a zombie. Creepy how similar, actually. That's just plot, though. The execution of the two comics are vastly dissimilar.
I enjoyed John Watkiss' art a lot on Trigger, although I didn't like that series very much. I think he's quite a good artist, and I especially enjoy his ability to handle emotions without being too realistic - it gives his art a real interesting feel to it (compare this to Darick Robertson, who conveys emotion, but does so by going realistic).
Bruce Jones gives him a heck of a story here. Most of the issue takes place WHILE the plane is crashing. It's a great narrative tool, with Brandon flashing back during the plane crash while he's trying his damndest to save the lives of the hundreds of people on the plane (and wrestling with why his brother is TRYING to kill everyone).
The flashbacks are all interesting, I thought, especially how he met his girlfriend (and how she ended up with his brother).
His emergence from "death" was handled quite well, too. I don't think I've read a Bruce Jones comic this SHARP in awhile. And I don't mean that to come off as harsh as it sounds, regarding his other work. It is just that one thing Bruce Jones generally does NOT do is give you a straightforward narrative - that's exactly what we get with Deadman. Sure, there are mysteries, but not anything beyond the pale, as it were. Just a standard supernatural tale, dependent upon the personalities of the stars to carry the story.
Here, Brandon is interesting enough to carry our attention, especially his relationship with his brother's widow.
I look forward to seeing if Jones can keep the momentum going into the next issue!
Recommended (and thanks to DC for the review copy!).