The tricky thing about espionage stories is you not only need a solid hook, but also new twists and turns to keep things interesting. The Dead Hand has done that and more, at first introducing a strange town and then proving the town exists for a very scary reason. Russian spies, and maybe even spies of other nations, exist in this place, but the figurative bomb they’re sitting on may go off soon.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“COLD WAR RELICS,” Part Three A new spy sets his sights on Mountain View. Roger’s secret is revealed. Harriet refuses to trust the killers that surround her.
Why does this matter?
Aside from the compelling story, Stephen Mooney is doing an excellent job making this book look like a million bucks. The art has a poster-like quality with some excellent montages that help us see a character for who they are.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue opens with that fire I mentioned above as we learn an MI6 agent is onto the town. It appears the man who hiked to it may have been tied to something much bigger. As the story progresses we get a little more detail on the daily life of one of the kids in the town and the lie they are living. By the end of the story, Kyle Higgins establishes even higher stakes which are a surprise given how intense this series has been so far.
The most exciting element is the MI6 character introduced early on. He not only gets a sweet double-page montage devoted to his character (that Mooney has expertly shown he can do time and time again in this series) but gets 6 solid pages devoted to him in a shootout. Mooney does a great job blocking this scene making it exciting and intense. You will believe this guy is possibly one of the best agents ever.
I’m really digging the facial expressions throughout this book. In a classroom scene early on Mooney makes the teacher somewhat scary and stuck up which suits the assumption she was once probably a master killer.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Okay, so some of the art looks a bit off. There’s a panel with Renae, Elizabeth, and Carter talking about what happened in the last issue. Carter’s arm on the table looks strange and the table itself looks like it could be 4 inches wide by the way he’s leaning on it. Later in the scene, that same table is much wider. There’s some stiffness in the characters’ poses as well. I’m curious if deadlines are pushing Mooney to be a little less sharp than he’s customarily been.
Is it good?
This issue ramps up the spy drama with an excellent shootout. It also raises the stakes well and should get spy aficionados geared up for more.
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