Review: Sinister Dexter #2

The worst thing about this issue is that the story is a two-parter. In all likelihood it was actually a four parter or more, but due to the collected nature of IDW’s issues it ended up in two parts. This series won me over in a big way with the first issue which made me curious to see if the second issue would continue the magic or let me down. The story actually begins without our two main characters present. A manga looking school girl has shown up in the middle of a science lab and scares the shit out of the scientist working there. One of them approaches asking the age old question of “where are your mummy and daddy” and gets a finger blade in the eye!

The little girl, Polly, begins slaughtering everyone in the room as she transforms her entire arm into a blade. Think T-1000 style and there you’ll have it. One scientist makes it out alive only to run into Polly’s partner, a woman dressed like a ninja. It’s clear that these two are assassins/gun-sharks as well and they’ve been sent to stop the lab from curing Cancer… fuckers.

Their paths are about to cross Sinister and Dexter’s as they fly into the city known as Mangapore… yes, Mangapore. Kind of like Madripoor but “manga” instead. It’s a great node to manga in general with the name and Polly’s design. At any rate, Sinister and Dexter land and are questioned by Customs before entering the city which is a metal island grounded into the ocean; they admit to being Gun-Sharks, but tell Customs they’re there for vacation and nothing more. They’re very straightforward which is an instant clue that something is up with their trip, but that element doesn’t play out in this issue. They catch a taxi and when asked what language, Sinister selects Low-Lode which basically means the driver swears at them. It’s quite humorous as he later complains about it.

SinisterDexter02-cvrAThis issue was different from the first, but it was still really good. There’s this incredible sense of history with this world. A bit of that is revealed within the story, but the great thing is that it really makes it feel as if there’s more to discover and that the world is moving without us. It’s like a video game that’s always online, just because you’re not a part of it at the moment doesn’t mean something’s not happening. That’s a hard thing to create as writer, but Dan Abnett manages it quite well.

Again, my one and only gripe is that I couldn’t finish the story. I really wanted to keep reading because that’s what this series does to you, makes you want more. Abnett does a fantastic job of making this world funny, exciting, serious and deadly all at once. I’m glad that this chunk of story has an overall plot, but the world and characters are so interesting that I think I would be entertained just following their Tuesday routine. If you didn’t like how much dialogue there was in the first issue then you’ll probably enjoy the fact that there is less in this issue. I was actually bummed by this because I really liked Sinister and Dexter’s banter.

There are two artists on this issue, but Andy Clarke returns for the first half of the story. His art is fantastic and really brings the world to life. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed the first issue as much if he wasn’t illustrating it. Dylan Teague joins him for the second half of the story and overall his line work is very good. His artwork dips in the places that Clarke’s excels in which is mainly the backgrounds and sheer amount of detail on the page.

Clarke can make a conversation interesting just by making the background world look alive and interesting, whereas Teague’s backgrounds are vacant or solid colors. I also didn’t particularly care for Teague’s version of Polly and her ninja partner, but it was probably just due to the fact that I had already seen Clarke’s version first. Even with these minor complaints the artwork looks great and is wonderfully colored by Chris Blythe. Blythe does a fantastic job of uniting the two art styles and gives the book a consistent look and feel.

Sinister Dexter isn’t everyone’s choice of soda, but if you didn’t like the first issue I think you might want to give it another shot. This issue vibes different, but still manages to capture the entertaining and futurist world of the first issue. There isn’t as much violence and gun play in this issue, but it fills that void with other elements that are just as exciting.

I was pleased with this issue and glad that it didn’t suffer from the second issue let-down that so many other series suffer from. To be honest when I hear reprint or “first time released in North America” I get nervous because usually it’s just an easy way to fill a spot on a publisher’s schedule, but I’m actually glad that IDW picked up Sinister Dexter and how they’ve handled it so far. Though I could really go for an advanced look at the next issue…

Score: 4/5

Writer: Dan Abnett Artists: Andy Clarke & Dylan Teague Publisher: 2000 AD/IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/31/13