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'DC Silent Tales' #1 proves a picture is worth a thousand words
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‘DC Silent Tales’ #1 proves a picture is worth a thousand words

Six stories featuring Joker, Harley Quinn, Cyborg, Zatanna, Superman, and Lobo.

Gustavo Duarte returns to DC Comics with a new one-shot, DC Silent Tales featuring six stories, all of which come with his cute and incredibly expressive art. After reading Dear Justice League, Duarte became an instant-buy creator for me, and that quality continues in DC Silent Tales #1.

A common weakness of wordless comics is they’re extremely fast to read. How can you justify purchasing a comic that can be “read” in three minutes flat? That problem is alleviated by Duarte’s cute, expressive, and sometimes hilarious artwork. These stories also play with space and layout, creating an experience similar to the Looney Tunes, which always seemed to push where animation could go. Duarte does that visually here.

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DC Silent Tales #1 opens with a Harley Quinn story, with her going to a hardware store. As she plucks hammers, axes, and paint, you wonder what she’s up to and where it’s all going. The cashier helps her just fine, but you can tell he’s worried and unsure where it’s all going. The tension builds to the final moments, where we get a nice twist. Harley Quinn is a villain, after all, and does a bad thing, but there’s a surprise to be sure when it comes to the items she bought.

Duarte is very good at exploring space and, by extension, timing. A single wide panel may be followed by three smaller ones, effectively letting you take in Harley smashing something in a wide shot and then seeing her take away her spoils over the course of three. A final panel of the shop worker looking over the counter, his eyes just peeking out, creates a comedic last laugh. Like the shop worker, we can’t believe what just happened.

'DC Silent Tales' #1 review

This guy looks like he belongs in a Looney Tunes cartoon.
Credit: DC Comics

Following this story is a Cyborg story. He’s happy to be playing a new record he purchased and along the way, encounters an intruder in the Titans Tower. Little details like the kind of glove the villain wears or how unphased Cyborg is once things are resolved add a charm to the tale.

Next is Superman fighting Kaiju. This story features Duarte’s ability to convey thoughts and dialogue via imagery. We learn he really needs to take care of where he puts his trash.

Zatanna gets the next focus with a delightful magic bunny team-up. Zatanna’s blushing face at the end of the story is priceless. She looks at us, and her facial expression screams, “Can you believe this?”

Joker causes a stir in an art gallery next, and Batman teams up with the cops to take him down. Duarte’s art style suits the expressive Joker, juxtaposed well with the hulking and stiffer Batman expressions. This story is the only one that had me scratching my head, though. Joker’s plan takes place off-page, which feels like a cheat.

If you like seeing zombie Nazis get what they deserve, you’ll enjoy the Lobo story that wraps things up. Heads pop off, stakes are driven into chests, and decisions must be made about gold. A word balloon featuring a museum is a fun touch (Indiana Jones, anyone?), and it all ends in a crowning kill that’ll bring cheers to readers.

There’s so much to love in DC Silent Tales #1. I suspect young, new, and old readers alike will find something here to make you laugh, grin, or jump for joy. There’s something infectious about Duarte’s style that makes you feel young again.

I highly recommend you check out all of Duarte’s work. It’s all exceptional.

'DC Silent Tales' #1 proves a picture is worth a thousand words
‘DC Silent Tales’ #1 proves a picture is worth a thousand words
DC Silent Tales #1
There's so much to love in DC Silent Tales #1. I suspect young, new, and old readers alike will find something here to make you laugh, grin, or jump for joy. There's something infectious about Duarte's style that makes you feel young again.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.8
Duarte's art does everything you need to convey emotion, and thoughts
A good mix of characters going on wacky missions
The Joker story had me flipping back thinking I missed something
Regardless of the incredible art, it's still a fast read with no words
8.5
Great

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