Graphic Novel Twofer: The Dead Boy Detectives & My Dead Girlfriend, Vol. 1
It’s a ghostly graphic novel twofer today! And we’re not discriminating on the basis of gender; we’ve got dead boys and a dead girl.
165. The Dead Boy Detectives by Ed Brubaker, Bryan Talbot, Steve Leialoha (2008)
The Sandman Presents
Length: 104 pages
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy
Started / Finished: 26 December 2011
Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I think – think – this is the last of the Sandman-related books I haven’t read yet. Or at least, it’s the last one that my library has in its collection.
Summary: Schoolboys Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland want nothing more than to spend their days solving crimes, just like in their favorite novels, but they’ve got two problems. One, they don’t have any customers, and two, they’re not, strictly speaking, alive. But when they stumble upon a string of murders in which the victims appear to be drained of all of their life force, they must use every bit of their ghostly abilities to track down a killer who has been plaguing London for centuries.
Review: This was not my favorite of the Sandman spin-offs. Although several Sandman characters other than Edwin and Charles (namely, Mad Hetty and Hob Gadling) do make an appearance, there’s little to no connection to the main work. Since I didn’t have much invested in these minor characters, there wasn’t a lot of emotional oomph to the story. And, while I enjoyed watching the ways in which being a ghost both helped and hindered detective work, I thought the actual mystery was pretty straightforward, and I found it frustrating that none of the characters seemed to pick up on the really obvious hints about the murderer’s identity. Overall, it was a fun-enough diversion, but not something that blew me away. 3 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: For Sandman completists, it’s not a bad way to spend an hour, but it’s also not something I’d be heartbroken about missing out on, either.
Other Reviews: Bart’s Bookshelf
169. My Dead Girlfriend, Vol. 1: A Tryst of Fate by Eric Wight (2007)
My Dead Girlfriend, Vol. 1
Length: 192 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Started / Finished: 31 December 2011
Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? The title caught my eye as I was browsing the shelves.
Summary: Finney Bleak has a family history that’s going to be hard to live up to – all of his ancestors have died in improbable ways, and then stuck around for family game night. High school’s no better, full as it is of Aberzombies, potion-pushing witches, and (literal) Deadbeats. Even the girl that Finney met at a carnival never called him again. But in Finney’s world, even death isn’t a barrier to the power of a teenage crush…
Review: This was cute, and a fun enough read, but ultimately I was left unimpressed. I think most of my problem was that not enough happened; 5/6th of the book is introduction and set-up, a substantial worldbuilding infodump, and the titular dead girlfriend doesn’t show up until near the end. I get that it’s a first volume in the series, but even so, it didn’t have much of a plot arc (other than “Finney mopes around about how hard life is until the ghost of a girl he had one date with shows up”). There were definitely some funny bits, and I like the idea of the world Wight’s created, but I don’t know if I’ll continue with the series (especially since there is no Vol. 2 out yet, or even on the horizon) – not enough happened in this volume to really get me interested in where the story’s going next. 2.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: It’s a neat concept, but the story barely takes off before the book ends, so unless more installments are published, I’d give this one a miss.
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