Writer: Melissa Flores
Artist: French Carlomagno
Colourist: Mattia Iacona
Letterer: Becca Carey
Production Artist: Tricia Ramos
Suit Designed By: Federico Sabbatini
Creative Consultant: Kyle Higgins
Designer & Editor: Michael Busuttil
Captain Bibiana Lopez-Yang is a thirty three year old ex-soldier who never expected to come home from the war she was fighting. Nonetheless here she is, finding herself back in San Francisco’s Chinatown, which is home to the battling factions of Morrow Industries and the Salvation Gang, both vying for control of the area and insisting the other is the problem. Luckily, Bibi is prepared to fight off both sides and take back Chinatown for the people who live there, and she’s got electrical powers and a mech suit to help her on that mission.
If you’ve been following Bigger Than Capes for a while you might be aware that this isn’t my first time reviewing a series from Kyle Higgins’ Massive-Verse (MassiVerse c’mon Kyle it’s right there). Last year I reviewed the first few issues of Radiant Black and for the most part it felt like the series just wasn’t for me. I’ve been wanting to give Radiant Black another chance, but I thought I’d try my luck with The Dead Lucky first.
As a first issue I was expecting some exposition to help establish the near future world of The Dead Lucky and our protagonist Bibi. However, this issue has a lot of exposition, we’re given some details about Bibi via her therapist’s iPad screen – so much for Doctor-Patient confidentiality – but almost every part of the world is presented to us through awkward dialogues between characters.
Throughout the issue we’re introduced to Bibi’s supporting cast, most prominently her ex Eddie, her therapist Dr. Johnson, Officer Garcia and the yet-to-be-named Morrow Rep she’s working with, Bibi’s parents Mr. Yang and her…sigh…unnamed mother. Alright, I don’t want to get into this again, but just like in Radiant Black, for some reason the parents aren’t entitled to names, specifically the mother. I’m not saying every character needs to be named immediately, but it would be nice to put a name to the face, the same goes for the Morrow Rep, as they both feel like they’re going to be recurring characters.
I actually think we’re presented with a relatively promising group of characters, they’re varied and feel like a good, representative group, which is clearly something that’s important to the team behind The Dead Lucky and I’m completely in support of.
This issue is all about establishing the world and the characters, however, it feels like Bibi’s big superhero entrance gets in the way of that. It’s a complaint I made about Radiant Black too, there’s so much effort put into the character work and world building that there isn’t really any space for the superhero antics that are at the book’s core.
Criticisms aside, I think French Carlomagno’s artwork suits the book well, there’s believable emotion conveyed in Bibi’s civilian scenes and the action sequences are clear and easy to follow. There’s also a lot to be said for the character designs, the Morrow Reps, Guardian Bots, Salvation Gang and Bibi’s ‘Ghost’ costume are all real standout bits of design work from Carlomagno and Federico Sabbatini. I also think Mattia Iacona’s colouring adds a lot to the artwork, in particular the night time scene introducing the Salvation Gang, with blues and yellows turning the streets we’ve seen earlier in the day into a believable night, contrasting well with the gangs’ colours.
With each series announced I’m sure that I’m the target audience for the books comprising the MassiVerse yet when it comes down to it that’s simply not the case. There are aspects of this issue that I’ve enjoyed, particularly in terms of the art, but the writing and structure has been frustrating. I would like to think the series will grow on me as the issues roll on and the book finds its feet.