Deadskins is probably one of the strangest books I’ve read this year. Though it doesn’t seem like it, there is a method to the madness and this issue paints a clearer picture for the reader to follow. Also it’s dementedly funny and that’s something you don’t necessarily find in the comic world on a routine bases. In the last issue we meet Shane who is the classic fish out of water character set in the Wild West. He’s looking for his lady-love who he’s discovered has been taken. Strange things continue to happen to him though as he wakes up in a train car full of dead bodies and is the lone survivor. He makes it to his town and finds Jack a… colorful character… that’s completely lost his mind. Jack is the only survivor of the town and basically had the same event happen to him though he’s an idiot and doesn’t realize anything has occurred.
This issue kicks off with Shane heading out to find his lady, but his problem is transportation. He tricks Jack and his wife Sylvia… who is a donkey… and he is aware of that fact, to accompany him on his journey. After riding all day they see a campfire and decide to stop by and ask for directions from the men there to the fort that Shane’s lady is supposedly at. The thing about Shane and Jack is that they’re not tough… or capable of anything really. The men instantly intimidate them and threaten their lives for Sylvia. Jack won’t give up his wife though and refuses to move. Lucky for him he doesn’t have to as the Deadskins arrive and kill them all and leave Shane and Jack alive once more.
There’s just something I enjoy about this book. I wouldn’t call it a western, but there are aspects due to the setting. There’s also something rewarding about the fact that Shane should be dead a number of times over and yet he manages to live while the people who intimidate him continue to die. The pacing of the plot is a bit different in this issue and for me it worked. I can see some people not being as thrilled by it or feeling that certain scenes linger longer than others, but that’s part of its charm. Even good comics fall into ruts or patterns so it’s refreshing when an interesting story can come along and break that up and Deadskins does just that.
The art is thankfully the same as the first issue. There’s a ton of detail on each page and the bulk of the issue is in all black and white. There are some blues used in this issue, but as with the first the dominate color is red… because of all the dead stuff and blood. What sells a lot of the dialog and the character personalities is the facial expressions. Shane is a bevy of emotions while Jack is crazy looking. Some of my favorite scenes are of Jack though; from his stubbornness to get off of Sylvia, which makes him look like a pouting child or his drunken shock of discovering new booze is waiting for him if he’s to help Shane. It’s great stuff and the violence is funny.
I really like this series. Putting all the violence and weirdness aside, there’s actually a very interesting story taking place. There’s a mystery to be discovered and that’s what keeps me coming back more than anything else. I think a lot of people will probably pass on this book because they “don’t get it”, which is a real shame because this series is pushing a lot of envelopes with its storytelling and structure that you don’t see in most comic books.
Writers: Clay Adam & Alexandre O. Philippe Artist: Leila Del Duca Colorist: Brett Nienburg Publisher: Fried Comics Price: $.99 Website