Review: Dash #1

It’s taken me a bit to find the right words for this review and there’s a chance that I still haven’t found them, but that’s the risk of every review. Dash isn’t about a gay character, but rather it’s a story whose main character is gay. The reason I’m saying it that way is because I’ve read the opposite in which the story didn’t matter as much as the characters sexuality did and that’s a damn shame. Not with Dash though, the story and plot are what’s import and the characters sexuality is a part of his identity and development, which is exactly how it should be; after all you don’t read stories a story about a straight character only to be reminded of their sexuality the entire time. Our main character Dash is a gay private eye in 1940 Los Angeles. It’s basically illegal to be gay and yes that’s a factor of the story and that is freaking refreshing. Why? Again, because it’s part of his identity, but it also turns the P.I. genre on its head.

The issue begins in almost typical P.I. fashion as Dashell Malone, better known to us as Dash, narrates about Los Angeles. We arrive in his office as he’s half listening to a client talk. She’s dolled up with pouty red lips, a shirt with no bra that’s missing a few buttons and a skirt that falls just before the knees. She’s the typical female seductress from any P.I. story and she’s trying to play to her looks to distract Dash. Dash is distracted, but not by her. He’s waiting for a phone call and so he’s only half paying attention to her story. He still picks up on the important details like, “I need to keep the authorities out of this matter” and other such nefarious statements. Dash tells her he’s going to need to sleep on it and sends Ms. Zita Makara packing.

Dash-#1-9.24.14His phone call comes in and after a hilarious exchange with Dash’s secretary Cindy we find out what the call was about. Cindy calls out how fake Zita’s acting came across which isn’t anything that Dash didn’t pick up on, which was all revealed in his narration. It’s really there to establish the intelligence of Cindy’s character and possibly set her up for a larger role in the story later.

After that Dash is off to meet his on again, off again boyfriend in their usual meeting place. Dash is pissed because Plink, short for Johnny Plinketts, fell off the grid for over a week and has turned up with his own incomplete story. Dash is afraid he’s into some bad business. Their meeting in the park is cut short as an officer catches them mid kiss. As I said the era isn’t tolerating of the way that Dash and Plink were born so this cop could spell trouble for them… or could it?

I really can’t tell you what the mystery of the issue is because it would spoil too much, but it’s a great read. I was genuinely interested from beginning to end and found the fact that Dash was gay to be an interesting aspect to the story. It’s great because Zita is batting her eyes and trying to basically seduce Dash with her looks and it’s not working in the least bit. All the tropes of the genre are there, but we get to see them handled in a completely different way which was delightful.

Dave Ebersole does a great job with the writing; he paces the progression of the plot perfectly and tells a tights story from beginning to end. The dialogue was also executed well and while it’s cheesy at times, it’s more of homage to the genre then what Ebersole is really going for. You can tell the “genre lines” because they’ll make you laugh. Dash’s narration is definitely the star of the issue and is the perfect parallel to the visuals.

Speaking of the visuals the style is perfect for the era. Delia Gable keeps it simple and in doing so makes the story era appropriate. Gable doesn’t go for landmarks to sell you on the era, but sells you on the clothing and aesthetic of the tale. The art is realistic, but the character’s faces are a little less than realistic in design, giving the story personality. It makes it so that you can laugh at the jokes, but then also still take the serious moments as they are. Overall the art, coloring and lettering were all professional looking.

This story really is the perfect example of what a comic book staring a gay character should be like. It’s not a gimmick and it’s handled with respect. More so it’s interesting for anyone to read. Really this story is trying to appeal to fans of the P.I. genre that are looking for a new angle on the well-worn formula. Well look no further than Dash.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Dave Ebersole Artist: Delia Gable Publisher: Northwest Press Price: $3.99/$2.99 Format: Print/Digital Release Date: 9/24/14 Website