Sunday, 28 December 2014

Dead Letters, Volume 1 Review (Christopher Sebela, Chris Visions)

Dead Letters 1 Cover Sebela Visions Boom

Some Guy appears in a generic city. He can’t remember who he is or anything. Then some guys show up and try to get them to work for him. Some other guys show up and try to get him to work for them. What work? Like guns and junk. He’s a hitman? He works for both but he’s really working for himself. The guys are God and The Devil. He is in Purgatory. 

This book is beyond boring. I was thinking of literally anything while reading this and, when I paid attention to it, I immediately forgot what I’d just read. Or maybe that was my brain rejecting it as too crap even to retain vaguely as memory. Good job, brain. Just for that I’ll take it easier on the beer from now on.

Dead Letters is like throwing wet bread at a coconut shy and hoping to somehow win a balloon. That simile doesn’t make sense but neither does Dead Letters. Ok, let’s power through this, guys - stay with me! 

Purgatory is entirely constructed out of peoples’ perceptions of it meaning it could look like anything but instead it looks and is just another grimy city, like say New York. Why? People are unimaginative I guess, or maybe the creative team are telling us that they think people as a whole tend to fall back on what they know rather than do anything different? 

It’s uninspiring and uninteresting to look at - the artist’s name is Chris Visions which is ironic because he clearly has none. His “vision” of a potentially unique take on the afterlife is to replicate what already exists on Earth. And it looks like shit.

It also turns out you can get gored and hurt with guns and celestial knives. Why do they exist in the afterlife? Who knows? Exactly why God and the Devil’s forces are so intent on getting Some Guy to work for them is also a mystery - he’s just Some Guy. These forces are also incredibly stupid. Some Guy is able to convince each one that he’s working for them every time they catch up with him.

God’s Forces: It’s Some Guy - hey, we’re gonna beatchoo!
Some Guy: No, look I’m really working for youse swell fellas.
God’s Forces: Duh, yeah that makes sense. See you later!
Some Guy: Idiots… 
Devil’s Forces: It’s Some Guy - get him!
Some Guy: No, I’m on your side, see?
Devil’s Forces: That checks out. You’re the best, Some Guy!
Some Guy (turns to reader): Are you really still reading this drek? You know Batman comics exist, right?

The plot is just one big convoluted mess with Some Guy double-crossing one side over the other while he looks for Some Girl and Some Answers that you couldn’t possibly care about because you don’t know what’s happening. Christopher Sebela (who’s worked on Kelly Sue DeConnick’s sub-par Captain Marvel series, so you know this comic’s quality!) tries to force in a TON of world-building alongside a TON of ridiculously complicated plot and, as a result, it’s utterly baffling to follow. 

As Some Guy says in issue #3: “Must be frustrating not knowing what’s going on, just thrown in the middle of a huge mess and left to sort it out for yourself” - YES! Unfortunately that’s the only sensible piece of dialogue Some Guy says before he goes back to The Impossible To Follow Plot. 

Hilariously there’s going to be a Volume 2 - loving the optimism, guys! 

They need to rename Boom to Bust. Their comics are the pits!

Dead Letters, Volume 1

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