Today Marvel Comics released their first issue, in a five issue mini-series focusing on Dexter Morgan, “Miami’s friendly neighborhood crime-fighting serial killer!”. Dexter, originally brought to us in 2004 from the stylishly twisted mind of Jeff Lindsay, has taken on many mediums over the years, novels, TV episodes, even his own motion comic. However, now Dexter dons the arena of Marvel Comics.
Marvel’s decision to publish a Dexter mini-series was very interesting to me, as I don’t personally think of Dexter as possessing a Marvel-esque storyline. To me Dexter would probably feel more at home at Darkhorse or Image Comics. Either of these publishers seem more adept at exploring dark, gritty, horror stories. That being said, this series is a Marvel MAX series, which is Marvel’s more mature audience line of comics, and seeing the Marvel logo on the cover in no way dilutes my interest in reading this mini-series. 6Marvel’s mastery of cliffhanger endings, and their ability to take inherently flawed characters and show them as still capable of becoming heroes, is something I think will really make the Dexter mini-series shine. Finally, Marvel has Jeff Lindsay writing the mini-series, which lends the series credibility, and a feeling of authenticity.
What I found most interesting about this issue was the lack exposition. I think most comic book fans have gotten used to drudging through the backstory of their favorite heroes over, and over again, from issue to issue, but Dexter #1 contains almost no backstory regarding who Dexter is. While the first season of “Dexter” was heavily based on Jeff Lindsay’s novel entitled “Darkly Dreaming Dexter”, the novel and television series began to diverge drastically as they each progressed. This made the lack of backstory very noticeable, as it quickly became hard to tell which, if either, of the two universes Marvel was dropping us in. Initially I felt like Lindsay was following the timeline from his novels. However, once we begin to see Dexter at a crime scene, it appears that several of his co-workers bare a striking resemblances to the actors that portray them in the Showtime series. This may be coincidence, however, only one of these characters is introduced, so I guess we’ll have to wait until Dexter #2 to find out.
As far as story goes, the issue follows Dexter, and Rita (his wife), as they go to Dexter’s highschool reunion and Dexter begins to suspect a high school bully from his past may have a dark passenger of their own. I found this premise to be a little stale, as it was done in the Showtime series already, but, the comic does tell a very different story then the Showtime series take on Dexter’s high school reunion. For a 24 page comic this issue does a surprisingly thorough job giving readers a taste of the important aspects of Dexter’s life, from his lessons with Harry, his work for the Miami Metro Homicide Department, right down to his trademark needle and plastic wrap.
Talajic’s artwork beautifully leads us between Dexter’s memories, and the current events of the comic. The comics use of color also does an incredible job showing the range of emotions the panels portray as we’re taken from dimly lit alleys, to the bright stucco wall buildings, lush greeneries, and blue skies of Miami. There are also some spine tingling images of Dexter and his Dark Passenger drawn as a black wispy figure.
The timing of Marvel’s Dexter series is interesting planned, as Showtime’s hit series, “Dexter”, began it’s 8th, and final season, last Sunday. So with Dexter on everyone’s radar for the next 11 weeks, it will be interesting to see how much attention a comic series gains and if Marvel’s adaptation picks up as the main fix for Dexter fans post season 8.
I give Dexter #1 3.5 stars out of 5. Dexter #2 is scheduled to hit shelves late August, so if you’re a fan of Dexter, I would highly recommend picking up a copy of Dexter #1 in the next two months at your local Comic Book Shop or online via Comixology.