Pullbox Reviews Dick Tracy #1- Return to The City… a City of crime

A new era for the iconic detective starts here, from bestselling and acclaimed authors Alex Segura and Michael Moreci, as an all-new, noir-infused chapter in the Dick Tracy legacy kicks off with superstar artist Geraldo Borges

In the aftermath of World War II, the country stands frozen–waiting for the next shoe to drop. In The City, a brutal murder draws the attention of rising star detective Dick Tracy, who soon discovers the bloodshed is just the beginning of a complicated web that threatens to ensnare everything he cares about.

Blending the classic elements of the Dick Tracy world (including his iconic villains, supporting cast, and unforgettable watch radio) with a hardboiled and realistic take, DICK TRACY #1 kicks off a fresh and modern take on the iconic detective that remains true to his rich history.

I’m an old guy… Not quite old enough to remember Dick Tracy in his original iteration, but definitely old enough to have listened to the old shows on cassette and read reprints of the comic strips (which did run in newspapers well into the 1970s). What I did grow up with is a love for those old pulp stories: The Shadow, Doc Savage, and absolutely Dick Tracy! The noir style that was built into the character, the colorful storylines (and outerwear), and a rogues gallery tailor-made to be remembered.

As Mad Cave hits a satisfying benchmark of ten years in the business, they’ve continued to expand the content through just about every genre you can imagine. There are a lot of cool titles (Flash Gordon & Gatchaman!) coming down the line, but today we’re zeroing in on one of fiction’s most enduring detectives. If you’ve managed to make your way on this planet for any length of time, the odds are really good that you’ve heard of Dick Tracy.

The writing team of Segura, Moreci, & Osman are spinning up a beautifully worked period piece. I don’t know how they managed it, or how it’s going to look in future issues, but they’ve hit the mark mixing post-World War II City grit and the pulpy over-the-top characters of its criminal underworld. This isn’t a campy look at crime-fighting, something that’s kind of become associated with many pulp heroes of the age. Team Tracy is going for a story that has more in common with The Untouchables era New York than anything that might’ve come from a daily newspaper strip.

That approach is dialed in by the artistic team of Geraldo Borges (art) & Mark Englert (colors), who I feel I have to list together here as Dick Tracy has always had a very specific color palette. In the real world, not many police detectives would dare to walk around in a bright yellow trench coat and hat (if they did, you’d know they weren’t afraid of anything). In this case, the combination of the bright colors and Borges’s gritty illustrations works. The spirit of originator Chester Gould’s world, circa 1931, is found in these pages, but Borges & Englert give it a deadly serious edge to pull readers deep into their violent criminal world.

Letterers rarely get the props they deserve, so I have to point out great work wherever I find it. Jim Campbell is one of those artists who fits their work to the style of the book. Campbell never lets the dialogue get in the way of the action’s flow, to the degree that I absolutely believe that his work becomes part of the art. An oft-repeated anecdote is that if you don’t understand how lettering can make or break a comic, you’ve been fortunate enough to have never seen an example of bad lettering.

Made for fans of gritty stories like True Detective, readers who have a deep love for classic noir, or anyone who just likes a good time with their comics. Please take a minute and check into what Mad Cave has going on here. The first issue shows a lot of promise for things to come, and there’s still plenty of time before the title’s April 24th release date. Your local comic shop will be happy to help you pick out an alternate cover- or two- for you to make its forever home.

Final Score: 12/13

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Updated: February 26, 2024 — 4:43 pm

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