Debuting later this month from Image Comics, The Dying & The Dead is the latest collaboration between Jonathan Hickman and Ryan Bodenheim, following A Red Mass For Mars and Secret. I was able to read issue #1 in advance, in the form of a lettered "first draft," and it is immediately notable for three reasons in particular: The Dying & The Dead takes a decidedly more personal approach to the theme of mortality that Hickman's been exploring in epic fashion in his New Avengers and East of West projects; the artwork by Bodenheim is his career best, not just in terms of technical drawing ability, but in the sense of pure graphic storytelling; and the huge page count makes a compelling case for big first issues.
I've been a fan of Jonathan Hickman's work at Image ever since he hit the ground running with The Nightly News, and the thing I tend to love most about those projects is how unrelentingly high-concept they are. There's always a new hook that I've never seen before, whether it's a satire about super-powered mutant apes or an ongoing series featuring real-life historical figures involved in truly ridiculous acts of mad science. As a result, if you tell me that Hickman and artist Ryan Bodenheim, who worked together on Red Mass For Mars, are doing a new series together called The Dying and the Dead, then my first question is "what's the high concept?"
And that's when I found out that they're referring to it as "Indiana Jones for old people," and I'm pretty much sold.
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