Dead Rabbit #1
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: John McCrea
Dead Rabbit is a new ongoing series published by Image Comics. It is dark in tone, message, and content, and thus recommended for mature readers. Written by Gerry Duggan and illustrated by John McCrea Dead Rabbit tells the story of a (fictional) notorious robber.
In the 1990s, Dead Rabbit terrorized Boston’s rich and poor; he mugged drug deals as often has he robbed banks–an equal opportunity outlaw. However, Martin isn’t young anymore. His wife suffers from seizures. And worse of all, he’s out of money.
We pick up the story on the eve of the last reported appearance of Dead Rabbit. People wonder: where did he go: was he killed? retired? captured? This issue retreads some tired ground by way of character theme, i.e. retired outlaw resurfacing for all the right reasons, but the foundation is laid to push past these tropes in future issues. The plot focuses on a cliche of “saving the cat,” in which the protagonist does a good deed in the first chapter of a book, or issue of a comic, to designate them as “the good guy.” Tired ground, indeed.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many supporting characters in this issue. Whether this comic will succeed or fail depends on whether Duggan can create an ensemble cast, as the only character readers get to know in this issue is the protagonist.
The art carries this piece. John McCrea does a fabulous job with the entire issue, but especially when Dead Rabbit is in costume. Each panel is filled with hard angles and corners. Shadows creep from the black margins into each, pulling double duty as a darkened door or shadowed stairwell. Set this style against the extreme actions of the protagonist, and readers get a sense that this man, Dead Rabbit, Martin, whatever he calls himself, is a man of strong conviction. A man who sees a clear distinction between right and wrong, good and evil.
With all this in mind, it’s clear Image Comics sees something in Dead Rabbit that brings newness to a Rorschach-esque character and righteous justice plot. For instance, there is mention of the technological advances in banking and credit cards. It makes you wonder, what does a cash-robber do when everything goes digital? But that’s not Martin’s biggest problem. Word get’s around Boston that Dead Rabit is back, and the people he stole from, they’re still around, and they want their money back.
Dead Rabbit # 1