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Dick Tracy: Dead Or Alive #4 (IDW Publishing) Comic Review

    Ian Jane

  • Dick Tracy: Dead Or Alive #4 (IDW Publishing) Comic Review

    Dick Tracy: Dead Or Alive #4 (IDW Publishing) Comic Review
    Released by: IDW Publishing
    Released on: February 13th, 2019.
    Written by: Lee & Michael Allred
    Illustrated by: Rich Tommaso
    Purchase From Amazon

    “With help from some new (and old) friends, wanted man Dick Tracy may just be able to clear his name. But first he has to find a mystery man named Janus, who's practically a ghost - and lounge singer 'Smokin' Hott may have other plans for the detective…”

    The fourth, and sadly, final issue of Dick Tracy: Dead Or Alive opens in the back office of the Gemini Club where our hero digs through some files as Tess, now going by 'Smokin' Hott,' holds a pistol to his head. She tries to rush him out of the office before the manager, Mr. Janus, shows up - too late! But it's not Janus, it's Scorpio, who arrives. Hott tries to cover for Dick, telling Janus he was applying for a bouncer job, but Scorpio sees through the lie. Still, with his two best thugs, Tiny and Flat, out on the town trying to track down that cop and get that reward, Scorpio wonders if this 'Chester Smith' in the yellow overcoat and looking resplendent with his fake moustache, might be worth hiring after all. And when he proves his worth by taking Hott's gun off of her? He's got the job!

    As it turns out, there's more to what Tess is up to than meets the eye and - JUDO THROW - she's not about to let Dick take Janus down all by himself. When Tracy uncovers a secret elevator and the two head downstairs to a secret hotel/hospital, it looks like the trail is starting to get pretty hot… especially once they get a match on some prints. But there's way more going on here than either of them realize, all of which leads to the story's thrilling conclusion that we shall not spoil here.

    The writing here is just plain slick, Lee and Michael Allred's pen a gripping yarn ripe with suspense, double crosses, wacky plot twists and some genuinely funny double-entendres between Dick and Tess. The plot is even more beautifully ridiculous in this fourth chapter than in the three that came before it and it all just works. The pacing is ludicrously fast and the dialogue as snappy as dialogue can get, a great mix of hardboiled tough guy speak and quirky character quips.

    This writing joins in holy matrimony with Rich Tommaso's beautifully bizarre artwork. Character stretch into positions that no mere mortal could stretch into, and somehow it just looks right. The layouts are reasonably simple here but the character design is splendidly ugly when it comes to the villains, and righteously beautiful when it comes to the heroes. Great sound effects like “SLIDE OPEN,” “ROTATE” and “ELEVATOR NOISE!” add to the fun of the visuals here. Laura Allred's coloring is the icing on the cake, loads of bright primary hues pop off the page and punch you in the eyeballs, with Michael Allred's inks giving Tommaso's pencils just the right sort of smoothness that it needs.

    Funny book bliss from the first page to the last, Dick Tracy: Dead Or Alive was just a whole lot of screwy fun. Hopefully IDW Publishing can get this team back for a second installment sooner rather than later.

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