With such believable characters at its center, Dia De Los Muertos #1 establishes its premise to create some memorable stories. This creative team-up of writers and artists have designed their tales to revolve around the annual Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead. The first issue offers up a wonederful trio of ghostly tales that explore the mysteries that lie beyond the grave. “Dia De Los Muertos” is a unique horror anthology with big ambitions. And it looks beautiful to boot.
WRITTEN BY: Alex Link, Christopher E. Long, Dirk Manning
ART BY: Riley Rossmo, Jean-Paul Csuka
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: February 6th, 2013
The first tale,”Dead, But Dreaming,” follows a troubled teen who visits the land of the dead to find a long-lost relative. Writer Alex Link presents a heart-wrenching tale about an orphan trying to find out who she is and where she comes from. Because Katrina has never felt the loving touch of her mother, she dreams about visiting the land of the dead to find her. As Katrina recklessly causes problems, she learns about a parent’s undying love for their child. What keeps the narrative engaging is Riley Rossmo’s mind-blowing illustrations. Rossmo puts in small details to the tattoos on Katrina’s body, which resemble her skull candy scar. When Katrina visits the land of the dead, there are these abstract creatures walking around, a Chihuahua with a giant head and a lizard wearing a decorative skull.
My favorite in the collection is Christopher E. Long’s “Reflections” because it’s the most suspenseful. As a paranormal intuitive life coach, Zan Kane’s job is to keep the peaceful co-existence between the living and the undead. Like a detective, Zan uncovers the terrible secret the family is hiding, which leads to the reason why the poltergeists are so angry. What really makes the panels so eye-catching is how Jean Paul Csuka’s illustrations are divided by Rossmo’s three shades of color. When Zan is interrogating the father, the panels are made up of red, blue, and white tones. This experimental color scheme is a visually interesting technique, which heightens the supernatural aspects of the story. I really enjoyed the Zan Kane character and I hope Long uses him for another tale.
“Te Vas Angel Mio” by Dirk Manning is an incredibly tender tale about relationships and closure. It follows a heartbroken mariachi, Juan, as he falls in love with a complete stranger. After seeing his deceased girlfriend again, Juan thinks he is getting back together with the love of his life. But this is really about accepting that their relationship is over and it is time to move on with his life. Manning does a great job of switching languages, from Spanish to English, to emphasize the emotional tones. Rossmo has the right look for the mariachi clothing and highlights the lyrics with scratches of the musical notes in the background.
Highly recommended, “‘Dia de los Muertos” #1 is a terrific compilation of great storytelling and engaging artwork. The decorative spirit of Day of the Dead is celebrated in these pages.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis
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