“COLD WAR RELICS,” Part One. Carter Carlson was a highly decorated operative during the Cold War. But in the fall of 1991, as the Soviet Union collapsed, Carter discovered a secret that not only changed his life…but also altered the course of history. Now, as the mysterious “Dead Hand” threatens to end the world once again, the only thing standing in its way is the relationship between an old spy and a little boy.
Kyle Higgins gets the espionage genre, with all its swerves, dead ends, and false leads. He opens The Dead Hand #1 with a doozy. All the usual tropes are here. A lone wolf agent breaks into a super secret Soviet weapons plant in the dead of winter, dispatches the guards with ease, and finds…wait…but…what the hell? Something isn’t right here.
That’s not the only time The Dead Hand will catch you out. There are at least three excellent set-ups in this series opener that will knock you flat when Higgins turns your expectations around on you, with his false flags and red herrings.
Stephen Mooney is no stranger to the genre, having previously pencilled Half Past Danger and Grayson. His character design is something else. At first I was put off by Carter Carlson’s stereotypical, superhero-ish, pouch heavy, half mask costume, until I got further into the story and realized I’d been had for the second time. Everything makes sense in the context of the story, and now writer and artist are both kicking around my assumptions.
I had way too much fun with this book. I love a good setup, and I’m happy to say The Dead Hand sucked me in. Over and over again. Everything is hitting here. That cliffhanger, though? Yes! Let’s have more of those, please.
The Dead Hand #1, published by Image Comics, released 11 April 2018. Written by Kyle Higgins, art by Stephen Mooney, color by Jordie Bellaire, letters by Clayton Cowles.