Review: The Dead Hand

Review by David Ferguson

Art by Stephen Mooney and Jordie Bellaire
Written by Kyle Higgins
Lettering by Clayton Cowles

I have never read a Kyle Higgins book before and, putting all my cards on the table, I only picked up this book due to the artistic team. Reading through the book, at first I was unsure of the writing style that he was using, specifically the style of narration, but looking at the book as a whole I can understand, and really enjoy, his creative choices. The book is ostensibly a Cold War story. Carter Carlson, a highly decorated operative during the Cold War, discovers a secret that changes his life and also alters the course of history. However, labelling the book as simply as a Cold War story undersells it. While only having small hints of the overall story, I’ve read enough to be extremely enthusiastic about where this book might go particular with the hints of how history has been altered. That is the element that put the book over the line for me. I won’t go into more than that as I don’t like to go too heavily into spoilers. I will say that there is an interesting hook and leave it at that.

From an art perspective, Stephen Mooney was born to draw this book. Having followed his career almost from day one, I know this book is really his sort of thing and I am happy that he is getting to co-create another world. It is a spy world but he also gets to create costumed characters and I have to say that that is one of the things that appeals to me about this book. I am not a fan of straight spy stories (no offence to anyone, they are just not my thing) so I like to see some sort of twist on it. We’ve seen from Grayson and, to some extent, Half Past Danger, that Stephen Mooney works really well in the genre. I loved the costume design for Carlson in particular. I am happy to see him reunite with one of the best colourists in the business in Jordie Bellaire. Her colours really enhance his art and add to the overall design of the book. Just look at the cover to issue one. I also must mention Clayton Cowles. Lettering is an underrated art and his work does a lot to enhance the feel of the book too. This is a creative team firing on all cylinders.

The impatient amongst us might grumble at being left with so many questions but I think the team has shown us some of their world and, really, do you expect them to give it all away in issue one? I look forward to getting more answers when they are ready to give them to me. What is the Dead Hand? It’s dead good.

The Dead Hand issue one is available is all good comic shops. The Big Bang has an exclusive variant cover from David O’Sullivan (Anolog). You can check out the details here.