“I got pajama-piercing bullets!”
Modern day Robin Hood’s are a great theme for the action genre addressing the frustrations of the wealth divide while having the all fun of a villain. Dead Eyes (Image) was one such righteous renegade who, we are told, was labelled as a masked criminal during a spree of robberies in the 1990’s. Then he disappeared, seemingly after one last job where he stole millions of dollars from a mob boss. Except he wasn’t responsible on that occasion and had actually given it all up to look after his wheelchair-bound girlfriend. Now he’s forced out of retirement due to a moment of moral obligation and, more importantly, he’s not earning enough in his regular job to cover the mounting medical bills. Both reasons feel real and relevant enough to ground the story as well as affording the central character just enough sympathy as he punches shoots his way through anyone that gets in his way.Artist John McCrea worked on Garth Ennis’s Hitman series in the 90’s, and he brings a loose kinetic style which captures the pace and action. The simple but effective design for Dead Eyes will surely have TV and movie commissioning editors sniffing round for their next project. Although the book is essentially serious, Gerry Duggan was a writer for Marvel’s Deadpool and when Dead Eyes pulls on the mask, his dialogue is shot-through with the same humour – minus the nihilistic craziness. However, Duggan doesn’t lose sight of the moral argument here: Who are the villains: Dead Eyes’ victims? Dead Eyes himself for choosing violence? The Hospital company for overcharging its patients?
There are only four issues in this opening collection, but it has dramatic punch, humour and heart.