Dead Rabbit #1
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: John McCrea
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Editor: Will Dennis
Logo: Manny Mederos
Publisher: Image Comics
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
For years, the Boston area had been plagued by the criminal Dead Rabbit stealing from corporations and criminals alike. But one day after a big score, he disappeared. While most people think Dead Rabbit retired in luxury, we catch up with the man behind the mask, Martin Dobbs, living a fairly average life and taking care of his disabled wife. One day at his job at Wal The Mart, he sees a man buying products he suspects are meant to cover up a murder. He dons the old suit but quickly finds himself in a deeper mess than he realizes.
As I was thinking through how to write this review, it struck me that on the surface, there’s a lot of familiar elements to this book that are borderline cliché. The former criminal trying to go straight before regressing, vengeful crime bosses, blue collar workers with challenging home circumstances, etc.
The thing is, though, nothing about the book feels old and bored. Duggan puts a lot of his own twist on the story that makes it new and intriguing. Dead Rabbit as a criminal has interesting motives; it’s not just bank robbing he’s interested in. He’ll rob from other criminals. He’ll even rob from Fenway. In the community in which he used to operate, he’s less a symbol of terror and more like a folk hero like Robin Hood (without the “give to the poor” part).
When we peek behind the curtain of Dead Rabbit’s crime spree, it gets even more complicated. We think we have him figured out pretty easy when we see his wheel chair-using wife and are convinced surely he’s doing it for love and that makes him a noble anti-hero. But if we’re honest with ourselves as we continue to read, there’s no doubt that the straight life is not for Martin Dobbs and that he enjoyed his former life as Dead Rabbit.
So that amount of complex human inconsistencies gives us a fairly deep protagonist. The slick dialogue and the mess that we see Dobbs slowly stepping into also carry the story along quite nicely.
Additionally, the artwork in this book is very slick and cool. It almost has a noir feel but the brighter pastel colors in certain places are a nice touch that reassures the reader that you’re not going to see the typical “that’s when this dame walked into my office” type story. I love the pages where the colors do gray scale except for the red “x’s” for the Dead Rabbit mask eyes.
Verdict: Buy it.
I was done with this book a lot faster than I thought I was going to be. While it seems like there are fairly typical elements to the story, diving into Dead Rabbit #1 is anything but typical.