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The Dead Hand #5 Review

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The Dead Hand #5 Review

Nuclear war is inching ever closer.

One of the coolest spy dramas continues this week with the threat of nuclear war ever present. A town of spies is keeping an advanced A.I. with the brain of a child at bay, but what can you do when international threats continue to spill into town to ruin everything?

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

“COLD WAR RELICS,” Part Five How was Roger created? How might he be stopped? All of Operation Dead Hand’s secrets, revealed.

Why does this matter?

This is an interesting twist on the spy drama with a high chance of the world ending and only a few retired spies around to protect it. Last issue, one of the spies’ children came across the artificial intelligence which may bring doomsday to the world.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

The Dead Hand #5 Review

What the what!?

This issue does a lot of heavy lifting in regards to explaining why Russia ever made a computer to manage their nuclear warheads. During the Cold War, there was the fear of the chain of command being disrupted and a retaliation strike may be missed. A computer that could determine if shooting off nukes in such a case was created, thus the kerfuffle of this series. Much of the back story is revealed here — all the while an MI6 agent slowly makes his way to their location.

What makes this issue work is the addition of one of the spies kids. She’s your typical teen who thinks she’s ready for new information when really she isn’t. She’s barged herself into the world of the adults and it’s fun to see how she reacts to it all. At one point Higgins has her say something that makes a lot of sense and may be a clue as to how this all resolves, and it harbors a message of the youth possibly fixing their elders’ mistakes.

Stephen Mooney draws yet another good issue with an excellent double page spread montaging the life of another character. It’s a visual element of this series that has made it feel consistent and always interesting. Even if the main story drags, these double page montages are a sight to see.

The Dead Hand #5 Review

That kid is evil…wait he’s just a digital screen?

It can’t be perfect can it?

There are seven pages devoted to why the artificial intelligence was created and I’m not sure that’s necessary. If you’ve been paying attention you could piece together most of what is explained, further making these pages seem unnecessary. Devoting so much to the exposition also makes the plot move forward very slowly. We are five issues into this book and it’s trodding along very slowly.

While Mooney has done a great job throughout, I found these exposition scenes to be rather boring. These panels are cast in red and rendered plainly, I suspect to convey they are flashbacks, but they show boring suited men talking and manila envelopes on tables. There’s also a panel of a hand on a switch that’s repeated which adds to the simplicity of the panels.

Is it good?

It’s good, but it’s moving along so slowly it’s beginning to spin its wheels not moving forward fast enough to make things matter. It’s still a good yarn, but you’ll want this to pick up quick.

The Dead Hand #5
Is it good?
An explanatory issue to be sure, but one that ramps things up for a killer 6th issue.
Increasing the tension quite well
Another gorgeous character montage from Mooney
Gives a full explanation on why the nuclear safeguard was created...
...but does so via heavy exposition that slows things to a crawl
The issue as a whole doesn't advance the plot much
6.5
Good
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