(Marvel Comics, 2013)
Review by Shawn Warner
WRITTEN BY: Jeff Lindsay
ARTWORK BY: Dalibor Talajic
COLOR ARTWORK BY: Ive Svorcina
LETTERING BY: VC’s Cory Petit
When I first heard that there was going to be a comic book based on Dexter, the serial killing Miami P.D. blood spatter expert and star of books and the Showtime television series, I thought,” Why not? If Chew and The Walking Dead are such big hits dealing with equally dark subject matter then Image is going to have another successful book on their hands.” Then I heard it was not going to be Image publishing Dexter but Marvel! This book is a definite departure for the predominately super hero comic publisher but I am very happy to report it is good. Jeff Lindsay, the creator of Dexter, handles the writing on this first issue and does an impressive job; needless to say he has no problem finding the character’s voice and is quite adept at writing believable dialog for these characters he knows so intimately.
The comic is structured and composed very much like an episode of the show in that a large part of the story is told in the first person by Dexter himself. The scenes where Dexter speaks to his deceased father (played by veteran character actor James Remar on the show) are foreshadowed here in a flashback. When Dexter is being influenced by his darker inclinations, his “Dark Passenger”, as he refers to them, artist Dalibor Talajic uses a black mass to shadow the action of the scene, almost like a lurking specter.
The premise of this first arc centers on an old high school rival of Dexter’s named Steve Gonzalez. Dexter runs into his nemesis at a high school reunion and recounts the atrocities Gonzalez perpetrated against him during their volatile teen years. He made Dexter his special target and it became his mission to make young Dexter Morgan suffer one humiliation after another. Unbeknownst to him, Gonzalez provided Dexter with the first opportunity to exercise his “Dark Passenger” but is interrupted before he can complete the deed and ends up in the principal’s office. In the years that have passed since those events Dexter had not thought of Gonzalez at all but one thing he did remember were his eyes. They had not changed.
The next day at work Dexter is called to a murder scene where he is joined by his sister, Deb, who is a Miami homicide detective. Here again Lindsay does an excellent job of adapting the characters to a comic book. The banter between these characters is so genuine and authentic that the conversations are a highlight of the book. The issue ends with Dexter on the verge of a major revelation involving his old adversary, Steve Gonzalez, who Dexter now believes ties into the recent spate of homeless murders.
Although Dexter is a surprising addition to the Marvel line up I don’t think we have to worry about him teaming up with the X-Men as this book is obviously not a part of the 616 continuity. Having said that, stranger things have happened however, for now Jeff Lindsay is doing a fine job of telling an early story of Dexter’s past. Through flashbacks, we are learning more of how Dexter discovered and controlled his “Dark Passenger”. I think fans of the television series will love this but not only fans of the television series will love this. It is a well written taut and suspenseful thrill ride with sharp, intelligent and convincing dialog. Fans of John Layman and Ed Brubaker should not hesitate to give this book a try.
Dalibor Talajic does an amazing job with the moody tone of this book. He captures the facial expressions and body language of each character, rendering them with sincere and honest emotion. He is probably most known for his work on various Deadpool titles prior to this but Talajic has a style that readily lends itself to darker, moodier subjects which makes him a perfect choice for Dexter. I hope he sticks around for a while as I likewise hope this book is given a chance to grow and develop the readership it deserves. As you may have ascertained by reading this review, I am a fan of Dexter in all its various forms, written and filmed but I tried to look at the comic as if it were my very first exposure to the character. So with that in mind I give this book a much deserved 4 out of 5 for its merits as a first-rate comic book alone. I don’t think it was ordered in very high quantities, judging by its absence from the shelves of area comic shops, but it is worth hunting down a copy. So until next time, see you at the comic book store.
Follow Shawn Warner on Twitter: @shawnwarner629