The Dead Hand #2 (May 2018)

The Dead Hand #2

Mooney has some real problems with faces. They’re way, way too static. He’s usually strong with detail and body language–though the double-page spreads recounting super spy behavior (with only the “hero” wearing a mask so it really is just him being a dork) are overkill.

Not a lot happens in the issue. The sheriff deals with the hiker. The teenage girls wonder what’s going on; turns out one of their mom’s is a former spy with a history with the sheriff. And knows what’s going on in the town. And is more in charge than the sheriff.

There are a couple surprises, with the second one being what seems to be a big ol’ twist, and Higgins handles it all quite well. The comic would read better if Mooney could do the talking heads without the characters overacting, but Dead Hand still has a strong hook to keep interest.

The way the issue ends, however, gives no clue as to where the book is going, which is fine… just strange given it’s a limited. Kind of a soft boot.

CREDITS

Writer, Kyle Higgins; artist, Stephen Mooney; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Clayton Cowles; publisher, Image Comics.

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The Dead Hand #1 (April 2018)

Writer Kyle Higgins likes his big concepts. The Dead Hand has a big concept, though that concept isn’t entirely clear yet. In fact, Higgins does some slight of hand to distract from things–though he forecasts the twist just before revealing it, a little too much of the hand showing. Most of the issue is some “rah rah” nonsense with an American CIA agent.

He’s a super spy, but he wears a star mask–like a bandana over his face with a star on it–presumably because he thinks it makes him cool. Or there are other costumed super spies and Higgins really needs to reveal it, because otherwise the super spy seems like a little bit of a tool.

Is the guy a tool? Maybe?

It’s not important yet. What’s important is there’s some big mystery involving a Soviet weapons project and a small mountain town pretending it’s in the United States but it’s really in Russia. Only not Soviet Russia, modern Russia.

Stephen Mooney’s art is all right. His figures get stumpy at times and he’s a little too ambitious with his angles for his depth, but it’s definitely all right.

The Starro mask is real dumb though. Like, I’m not sure it’ll ever live the Starro mask down.

CREDITS

Writer, Kyle Higgins; artist, Stephen Mooney; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Clayton Cowles; publisher, Image Comics.

Hadrian’s Wall 7 (May 2017)

Hadrian's Wall #7

Three big things happen this issue. One is the semi-hard cliffhanger, another is the conclusion to the mystery, and the last is Eduardo Ferigato’s continued art assists. Ferigato, whatever he does, is a perfect pair for Reis. Hadrian’s Wall has always had excellent art, but Reis and Ferigato together give it a somewhat different look. Frizzy lines. It changes the energy of the book, just as Higgins and Siegel’s script changes up too. The pacing is different, more intense; the characters now have to synthesize to respond to the new situations. The book might just end a lot better than originally forecasted. One to go.

CREDITS

Writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artists, Rod Reis and Eduardo Ferigato; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Matt Idelson; publisher, Image Comics.

Hadrian’s Wall 6 (April 2017)

Hadrian's Wall #6

And another surprising turn of events. Higgins and Siegel were holding out, setting up a soap opera crime melodrama when they really had something else. The flashbacks are now slightly annoying, only because they feel like backstory Higgins and Siegel are doing out of obligation rather than dramatic gristle. They’re explanations of events discussed multiple times in exposition; exposition could’ve gotten the “truth” across as well. Reis has some help on the art–Eduardo Ferigato–and I’m curious where Ferigato came in. There’s some talking heads stuff and it’s okay, but it’s far from dynamic. Though Reis never does lengthy talking heads particularly well. But Hadrian’s Wall still has some surprises in store. It’s a good series. Higgins and Siegel might be in the victory lap with two to go.

CREDITS

Writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artists, Rod Reis and Eduardo Ferigato; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Matt Idelson; publisher, Image Comics.

Hadrian’s Wall 5 (March 2017)

Hadrian's Wall #5

Hadrian’s Wall runs eight issues. Why did I think it was five issues? I might have even thought it was four at some point. Needless to say, there’s a lot more story coming in this issue. A lot more backstory too. The detective is in a prolonged state of withdrawal, which sort of changes the flashbacks–if they’re occurring to him as they occur to the reader–but not a lot. It’s a smooth issue. Gets the rebel pirates introduced, puts these characters in this place; it’s a positioning issue. Higgins and Siegel are rearranging the board. Good art from Reis as always, but there’s not a lot for him to do. The settings are visually boring, actually.

CREDITS

Writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Matt Idelson; publisher, Image Comics.

Hadrian’s Wall 4 (December 2016)

Hadrian's Wall #4

I have no idea what just happened. I mean, I do. Higgins and Siegel are straightforward writers, even when they’re doing flashbacks and big reveals in quick sequence. But it has a strange plot development for the first issue of the back three. And while there are flashbacks to Earth, all of a sudden Reis’s art feels more claustrophobic. As the stakes raise for the characters finally, it’s like the book’s visually closing in. It’s a good issue with some excellent work from Reis.

CREDITS

Writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Matt Idelson; publisher, Image Comics.

Hadrian’s Wall 3 (November 2016)

Hadrian's Wall #3

Hadrian’s Wall just got somewhere very unexpected. It’s not clear if the writers are going to take the unexpected route or the familiar, but it’s an impressive narrative development. The issue’s methodical, which works, especially given the art. Reis has a great flow to the interrogation scenes.

CREDITS

Writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Matt Idelson; publisher, Image Comics.

Hadrian’s Wall 2 (October 2016)

Hadrian's Wall #2

The issue’s a little drawn out as far as the script goes, but Reis’s art more than carries it along. And there’s some decent detective investigation exposition slash narration, with the detective recording his notes. But the soft cliffhanger’s weak. The writers take advantage of the medium.

CREDITS

Writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Matt Idelson; publisher, Image Comics.

Hadrian’s Wall 1 (September 2016)

Hadrian's Wall #1

Hadrian’s Wall opens with a paragraph explaining the setting–it’s set in an alternate future because it has an alternate past (the U.S. and U.S.S.R. nuked each other in 1985 so the future’s different)–but then it’s just a traditional future cop sci-fi thing. And it’s pretty good at it too. Writers Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel just have one major mystery for the cop to solve–who killed his ex-wife’s new husband? Who she initially had an affair with, who got him fired, who shot him four times.

The protagonist is now a painkiller popping wreck of a man. Will he be able to unravel the mystery out in the stars–Hadrian’s Wall refers to the ship where there a limited number of suspects. And we already know someone isn’t what they seem.

Basically, it’s an excuse to look at some gorgeous artwork from Rod Reis. The dialogue is fine–it’s pulpy future cop stuff (and it’s hard to believe it didn’t start as a screenplay)–the characters are okay. The art on them is great. I mean, it’s not an ambitious book, it’s just a solid one.

CREDITS

Writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Matt Idelson; publisher, Image Comics.

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