With two appealing protagonists, “Dead Boy Detectives Vol.1: Schoolboy Terrors” strikes the right balance between charming and frightening. After being introduced in the pages of Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman,” the dead boys get their own series with all-new supernatural adventures. The dead boy detectives will learn there’s nothing scarier than going back to high school.
Reviewed By: Jorge Solis
Though Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland died, they decided to stick around as ghosts, solving mysteries in their spare time. How ironic that the two best friends only started living after they died. Now, Edwin and Charles will have to face something they have avoided for a very long time. They now have to solve the mystery behind their own deaths. When the duo returns back to their school, Edwin and Charles have to team-up with a living girl, Crystal Palace, who’s in way over her head.
In “Run Ragged,” Edwin and Charles have to solve the case of a missing cat. Charles’ infatuation with a pretty girl unfortunately leads him to a school run by a poltergeist. I really like how writers Toby Litt and Mark Buckingham establish the relationship between the main protagonists. It’s not like one of them is the brains and the other is the brawn. Litt and Buckingham have these two characters share the spotlight at the same time. These two never leave each other’s sights, especially when there’s danger.
In “Schoolboy Terrors,” Litt and Buckingham reminds readers that these two best friends, at their core, are really just naive kids. Edwin doesn’t want to go back to school because he is still afraid of being picked on by a bully. When Charles stand next to his tombstone, he is incredibly scared by the realization he has a long-lost relative. Though they are dead, they are still afraid of feeling pain and emotion.
Buckingham plays around the ghost story themes and twists the genre around. Edwin and Charles are more like snoopy voyeurs because they can phase through walls. Because they’re not fighters and have no muscles, they need Crystal Palace to make things edgy. She’s actually the one who saves the day toward the climax.
In a well-detailed two-pager, Buckingham delivers a surreal illustration of Crystal’s friend passing between the living and the dead. Hanna is lying on a stretcher, covered in knives and locked in chains. On one side, a demon is rising from a fiery pit of lava. As the demon attempts to take possession of her body, Hanna’s soul flies off towards the bright light.
“Dead Boy Detectives Vol. 1: Schoolboy Terrors” really stands out because of the bromance between Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next story arc of “Dead Boy Detectives.”