DEXTER #1

By: Jeff Kindsay (writer), Dalibor Talajic (art), Ive Svorcina (colors) and Cory Petit (letters)

The Story: A comic Dexter story just in time to cash in on the show that started Season 8 last week!

Review: Let’s be succinct: Don’t read this comic.

This is actually the kind of comic that offends me.  “They” have a popular property and “they” decide to shovel out a comic series that is low-quality merely because they know they don’t have to try any harder since people will buy it based on the name alone.  It’s the same problem that plagues video games that are related to a summer blockbuster movie or novelizations of movies or new versions of Monopoly based on licensed properties.  This stuff is usually crap, yet we buy it because we kinda like one media property with that brand name, so we might like another.

That isn’t to say that there can’t be good multi-media properties.  The Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics were quite well received.  The recent Batman PS3/XBOX360 games have been outstanding.  IDW does a great job with most of their licensed properties.  In fact, it was my enjoyment of X-Files, Season 10 that inspired me to check out this Dexter comic.  That X-Files comic really felt like The X-Files; I could “hear” Agents Mulder and Scully talking and the dialog all sounded like things they would actually say.  And the comic was telling me the story of what happened after the TV program ended, so there was a huge “what if” attraction.  What if David Duchovny hadn’t gotten bored with the series?  What if there were more stories to tell?

This Dexter comic has none of those positives.

Let’s list a few of the problems with this comic:

  • Characters aren’t that identifiable: I don’t like when adapted comics are too photo-realistic, but they need to do better than this.  If the dialog wasn’t using words like “Dexter” and “Deb”, you wouldn’t know that these illustrations are the same characters from the TV show.  I really don’t see how hard it is to illustrate Deb.  The actress who plays her is ~6 feet tall, thin as a rail, with a distinctive face and very long straight brown hair.  A caricature artist would have a field day with her.   So, why can’t she actually look right in this comic?
  • Many characters don’t appear: Part of the fun of the TV program is the supporting cast.  Everyone loves Bautista and his little hats and Mazuka and his perverse enjoyment of strippers.  Why not have these folks appear?  Especially because they are very visually distinctive characters who lend themselves to comics: Hat + Goatee = Bautista, Shaved head Asian man = Mazuka.  For a series struggling for visual identity, why not use some of the visually distinct characters from the series?
  •  Occurs somewhere in Seasons 3/4: The problem with this is that we’re up to Season 8 on the TV program.  How can anything truly important and fascinating really be wedged into this part of the story?  Just as Star Wars stories during the period of the the original trilogy always seems weak because we know that Luke/Leia/Han won’t die, nothing major can happen to Dexter in this series.  We’ve already seen 4-5 seasons (~50 hours of TV) that happened after this story takes place.  If you must do a story set in this era of the Dexter story, make it about the supporting characters and do a whole Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead thing?  (Hint: Use Bautista and Mazuka!)
  • Characters don’t feel authentic: When I read this, I didn’t hear Dexter Morgan doing the narration.  I didn’t hear his sister Deb’s voice at the end of the comic either.  It just doesn’t work or connect for some reason.  I wanted it to happen, but it didn’t.
  • Subject matter may be too mature for a Marvel comics: Part of the reason Deb didn’t feel authentic is that she wasn’t dropping an F-bomb every other word.  That’s just how Deb is.  There are surely Youtube compilations of her greatest uses of the F-word.  You can’t do that in a Marvel comic.  Similarly, you can’t have Mazuka giggling about the time he brought stripper triplets back to his condo either.  This is a property that would work better at some less mainstream publisher.

This is just a fail all the way around.  Don’t waste your money and, for goodness sake, don’t let your non-comic friends read this just because they like Dexter.  They’ll think that all comics suck.

Conclusion: Just stay away.  It’s not good.  Watch the TV show.

Grade: D

– Dean Stell

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Conclusion