DEAD INSIDE #1
Story: John Arcudi
Art: Toni Fejzula
Colors: Andre May
Letters: Joe Sabino
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
“On the outside you’re ablaze and alive. But you’re dead inside!” Those are lyrics from the Muse song, but they do have a bit in common with Dark Horse Comics new book of the same name. Dead Inside by writer John Arcudi and artist Toni Fejzula adds a new unsettling take on publisher’s long line of murder mysteries in 2016.
Detective Linda Caruso, is a trainwreck of a human being who investigates homicides for the Jail Crimes Division of Mariposa County. A job she can usually do in her sleep, or most times highly inebriated. These brutal crimes are often open-and-shut cases in prison, just not today. Caruso gets called into investigate a heinous disemboweling of an inmate only this time the killer who committed the crime has also been murdered and could be part of a larger conspiracy the detective will have to unravel.
Dead Inside is a book that nails the atmosphere it intends on delivering. Visually, the art of Toni Fejzula combined with the color work of Andre May are the foundations of that atmosphere. It’s a surreal style that leaves more shadows open to audience imagination. In that respect, it’s almost as much horror story as procedural crime genre. The prison setting layers a bleak claustrophobic emotion intended for the series protagonist to play off of. Linda Caruso isn’t here to appeal to the audience is empathy, she’s the result of what this setting can turn you into; cold, lonely, and unafraid of dying.
If there is one thing to pick at in the series debut, it rests with Detective Caruso. While I understand she’s going to be the brooding lone wolf anti-hero needed to survive prison investigating; one couldn’t help but feel like you needed more of a hook for her than we got. You do get bread crumbs of the characters back story, just not enough of the ones we really care about. While you can’t reveal everything in the first issue, giving readers something more from her back story or even owning a cat would have gone a long way.
Overall, Dark Horse’s new series isn’t for everyone. It’s for readers who aren’t afraid to dive into the toughest corner of crime drama that will show you the worst parts of humanity. Dead Inside will not be an uplifting joyful experience, you’ll get dark as dark can get. While the book needs to land the main character hook with a little more resolve, the opening chapter gives you enough of an incentive to see if that will be the case in thirty days.
Dead Inside #1 from Dark Horse Comics is available in stores and online now.