Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive #1

Writers: Lee & Michael Allred
Pencils: Rich Tammaso
Inker: Mike Allred
Colors: Laura Allred
Letters: Shawn Lee
Publisher: IDW Publishing

A Review by Greg Brothers

I can point out the exact moment that I became a Dick Tracy fan. I was in middle school and the movie starring Warren Beatty, and Madonna was in theaters. I remember seeing it several times and to this day if I am flipping through the tv mindlessly and it turns up I will stop and watch it. The bright colors, the cartoonish mobsters and hero. All of it spoke to me. It also got me interested in going back and finding all the old cartoons where I could.  So when I heard that IDW was going to be doing a mini-series I know I had to check it out.

Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive #1 starts with the detective hot on the heels of a major criminal. Just as the wanted criminal thinks he has made an escape there is Dick Tracy to bring him to justice. The problem is there are some powerful people in high places who did not want him caught. Because of that Tracy is asked to turn in his badge and relieved of his duties. At the same time that work is getting out that Tracy has been fired a group of underground criminals hatch a scheme to hire Tracy while they rob the city blind. Unfortunately for them their plans fall apart before it really gets started. But the question remains who was behind the plan to begin with.

Allred’s take on Dick Tracy show that either A) He already had a love for the character, or B) he did lots of research in order to try and keep the character close to the source. Dick Tracy: Dead of Alive #1 says that it is a more modern version of the character. The truth is though it still feels very true to the original with no real unnecessary additions or changes. Tracy is still the no nonsense, do what ever it takes to catch the criminal. He wants to see the city and really the world cleaned up. He is willing to even sacrifice his job to do what he thinks is the right thing. He also does not have any time to waste of Superheroes who visit from other planets or look down from his penthouse.

Rich Tommaso is one of those creators that I really have to be in the mood for. I enjoyed his work on Dry County while I was not a big fan of Spy Seal at all. One thing that I can say about his art style however is that it works perfectly with a character like Dick Tracy. It especially works well in Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive #1since they decided to try and keep the character and story telling style close to the original. The sharp lines, rigged jaws, and simplicity of the scenery all work well throughout the story. Allred’s colors are a nice muted color until it comes to the classic yellow hat and coat.

Verdict: Buy!

If you are at all a fan of Dick Tracy or classic old-time comic strip writing, then Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive #1 will be perfect for you. The small updates keep the story from feeling that it was stuck in the past while the art adds a connection to the past. Hopefully after this series Allred will be able to find time in his schedule to come back to this world and tell us some more Dick Tracy stories.

Gregory Brothers
Ohio born and raised. Avid comicbook fan who is always trying to find time to get through my ever growing read pile. When not working on that I Teach, coach youth sports, and cheer on my hometown Cincinnati teams, and Buckeyes. Can also be heard talking comics and pop-culture on The Comics Agenda Podcast.

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