Forty years ago, one of the world’s leading private corporations begins an expensive and extremely humiliating construction project in a remote Alaskan area. Engineering setbacks and several casualties plague Gadsworth Company’s effort, and the multi-million dollar “ghost town” turns into a public relations disaster of epic proportions. The project is ultimately shut down, but not before the development lead, Daniel Pike, perishes along with it. His death, however, is not as it seems. And his son, William, sets out to unravel the mystery surrounding it all.
Though the subject matter seems relatively heavy, Deadhorse just might be one of the quirkiest comics to come out in years. Written by Eric Grissom and penciled by Phil Sloan, this comic pushes the boundaries of drama and absurdity to a level most polished writers can’t seem to master. In doing so, it creates a hilarious page-turner full of action, adventure, and mystery.
WRITTEN BY: Eric Grissom
ART BY: Phil Sloan
PUBLISHER: 215 Ink
RELEASE: May 9, 2012
Book 1, titled “Dead Birds”, is told in six parts, and it follows the journey of Daniel Pike’s reclusive son, William, forty years after his father’s death. A letter from Daniel is sent to William, explaining that the Gadsworth Company’s operation in Deadhorse, Alaska was nothing more than an elaborate enclosure for a nefarious box that holds an unimaginable source of power. Enclosed is a key with a warning that the box should never be opened, and that if something should happen to him, William should seek a man named Andrew Conroy for answers.
With the help of Elise, a 15-year-old runaway, and Edgar, a 19-year-old Zardoz fan fiction writer, who both just happen to be heading in the same direction as our protagonist, Pike makes his way across Alaska protecting the key, trying to figure out what it unlocks, and how exactly it relates to his father’s death. Unfortunately for Pike, Charles Gadsworth, CEO of the multinational Gadsworth Company, knows that he has the key in his possession, and he is none too pleased.
The box the key unlocks is a Gadsworth family heirloom that’s been in their family for generations. It’s also the main reason for the Gadsworth family’s prosperity. So naturally, he’s stopping at nothing short of placing two senile, bird obsessed agents in Pike’s apartment complex, and hiring a relentless bounty hunter in a Sasquatch costume to retrieve it. This book pretty much sells itself.
We’ve been following Pike on his quest for the truth for five chapters now, watching him evade death, destruction, and “The Sasquatch”, one sarcastic comment at a time. But the plot thickens once he meets his father’s trusted friend, Andrew Conroy. Whether the man is as trustworthy as Daniel thought, you’ll have to read it to find out. But you can rest assured that William will finally get some of the answers he’s looking for; including the mystery surrounding the box’ power and what exactly it’s capable of.
The more questions Grissom answers, however, the more questions the readers will ask. But that’s why he’s able to keep things interesting and entertaining. The writer’s choice to incorporate Elise and Edgar into Pike’s adventure makes for a charming and humorous experience for both the characters, and the readers. It’s a light read given the bizarre, and sometimes serious, events that unfold within the pages. Not only is this thanks to Grissom’s talent for writing amusing dialogue, but to Sloan’s art, which compliments the tone of the series perfectly. It’s an edgy take on the idea that comics can be a bit silly, which lends hilarity to the seriousness aspects of “Deadhorse”.
How the story comes together in the final installment of “Dead Birds” is anyone’s guess, but you can pick up your copy of Part 6 this Halloween.
If you’re thinking about giving this series a read, you can download Deadhorse #1 for FREE by visiting 215ink.com.
Reviewed by – ShadowJayd