With the temperature outside changing with every passing second, there is no better way to distract myself from the 10 degree windchill, than with the comic that caught my attention recently, Dead End Kids: The Suburban Job #1. From the minds at Source Point, comes the story of three teenage former friends struggling with the long-term aftermath of September 11th, seven years later. They find themselves coming back together when they get caught up in the wrong crowd and are thrown into the heart of a dangerous feud with a powerful local dealer. After all of these years, will they be able to work together and put their issues aside long enough to survive? This is certainly outside of my typical comic book comfort zone, but there is something about the raw and emotional nature of the comic that drew me in, making for a very powerful first installment.
I would like to start out with a disclaimer for this comic. This comic is not for everyone, it covers a lot of real life issues/ the emotional aftermath paired with those traumatic events that may trigger some people. I recommend this comic for mature audiences only. That being said, it was nice to take a look at a comic that had substance to it, and step out of the realm of sci-fi for a few days. The more I read, the more important I think that it is to find a balance between the comics that I read the most and the comics that make a difference, shine light on experiences that some may overlook, and find a way to connect with an audience through an illustrated platform. I think that a lot of people (myself included) look to comic books for a sense of escapism, but I think that if creators can use their comic can raise awareness (like one of my favorites- Tuskers), or can showcase how real people have to carry their trauma from day to day. It is refreshing to see relationships and characters who don’t live a completed fabricated life and struggle with the things everyone else does.
Looking toward the creative team on this one, this powerful and thrilling series is made up of talented writers and artists that deserve to be highlighted. Starting off with the writer, Frank Gogol (his Twitter) does an incredible job with the writing and character development in such a short number of pages. From the first chapter the reader walks into lives forever changed, and the story of how they have to cope with their trauma and mend a broken friendship. I am only one comic in, and I already have become attached to all of them. The dialogue really brings the story alive and drives the plot, so I am excited to see where he takes the story throughout the rest of the series. In this first issue, the writing is crisp and showcases everyone’s unique mannerisms, fragility, the tension between them. I also must say that I love where they left off, because who doesn’t love a good cliffhanger? To sum it up, Gogol’s characters are relatable, vulnerable, I am very excited to see them grow and rebuild their relationships.
No comic would be complete without the amazing artists who spring the characters into actions- Nenad Cviticanin (art and color), Sean Rinehart (letters), and Criss Madd (cover). Something that I particularly took notice of in Dead End Kids was the style. The character designs stood out to me just because I think that they match each of the characters so well. They are all so different, so their group dynamic is really interesting. The art also provides an added layer of realism to the story, and I think that in a story like this where the subject matter is a lot more serious, having those visuals drive the plot even more. There is also something to be said about all of the little details that add to their personalities, in the open shots of Des, all of the posters on her wall bring a sense of authenticity to her and make it easier for the readers to connect her with our reality. Cviticanin and the whole crew has done a great job setting up the characters and aligning them with the plot, so I am really looking forward to the next installment to see where the group goes as a whole and how their adventures will help them grow as people.
Dead End Kids:The Suburban Job #1 is hands down going to be part of my rotation once the next chapters come out as I look forward to seeing the growth and relationships from all of the characters. You can pre-order the comic here, and be sure to check it out on January 27th when it hits store shelves. I strongly encourage you to check out the rest of this four part series as it releases if you like amazing writing, characters with depth, and realistic problems. This gets a 13 from me, and if you want to find out more, check them out here.