With there being a delay to the release of the second issue of The Sandman: Overture – review of the first issue is here – I decided to pick up the first issue of the spin-off from that universe of dream.

The best years of our lives

deadboy1Surely a tale of two boy detectives that are ghosts isn’t an aspiration into dramatic storytelling? Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland can’t die again and it’s not clear to me if they are in purgatory. Neatly done, Mark Buckingham shows that ghosts have an entirely different set of threats to work through in this opening adventure. It begins mundanely enough when a piece of performance art goes wrong and Edwin and Charles are on hand to oversee the events unfold. The story then leads into a tormentous decision for the boy detectives when they’re bound by responsibility to return to scene of their own murders.

Thankfully this leads the reader back to possible familiar ground – if you’ve read Season of Mists – that open the way to some possible cameos in the future.

Death becomes you

dead-boy-detectives-1-hospitalThere’s a nice undercurrent of part detective, part ghost story with an ounce of Peter Pan syndrome thrown into the mix. Whether this series would have worked better as a mini series is something only, sadly, time will tell us. Dead Boy Detectives certainly has rich possibilities to come and with Mark Buckinghams strong pulse the stories should keep the veins of dream free from bypass.

Worth a read?

David-GoodOn the strength of this first issue I’d not hesitate to recommend sticking with the title for now to see how the first story arc progresses. Whether it’s strong enough to carry further arcs without fluffing its lines, I’m not so convinced. Nevertheless, Mark Buckingham and Toby Litt should be applauded for taking us on this adventure that began 23 years ago.

Dead Boy Detectives #1 is out now and published by Vertigo. We paid for our own copy of this comic.