Dead End Kids #3 Hits Home With A Powerful, Emotional Conclusion

by James Ferguson

Who killed Ben Jackson? His friends are trying to figure that out and they’re not going to stop until they get some answers and maybe a little payback. Even in death, he was the best of them and they’re somewhat listless now that he’s gone. The search for his killer has consumed them.

I had no idea where Dead End Kids would end up. Writer Frank Gogol kept the mystery going until the very end. The reasoning for the murder is probably the most chilling thing I’ll read all year. It speaks to a deep carnal feeling of fear, hatred, and rage that could bubble up in anyone if put in a similar situation. It’s also so very heartbreaking.

The only thing that takes away from this bombshell is that it took a minute for the revelation to sink in. The character involved wasn’t as fleshed out as he could have been so I’m curious as to how this could have gone if there was a bit more room to tell the story. This momentarily took the wind out of the sails, but it was quickly returned when the dialogue started up.

This sequence plays out in black and white, which is a nice choice. Artist Nenad Cviticanin adds to the noir feel of Dead End Kids and the inhuman nature of a teenager’s murder. The only downside is that it makes it hard to differentiate the characters sometimes.

This scene takes up the bulk of Dead End Kids #3 and sits in the middle of the book. The issue is bookended by two scenes in the present, jumping ahead twenty years. The colors are brighter, adding a sprinkle of hope to the equation. There’s a nice twist here as you’re trying to figure out why this character is in this particular setting.

The opening and closing scenes have some great internal narration, expertly placed by letterer Sean Rinehart. Sometimes there are only a handful of words on the page, yet they speak volumes. These small captions are so very powerful.

Dead End Kids shows us that even screw up and weirdos can have a happy ending after all. Throughout heartbreak and tragedy, they can persevere. It’s a testament to every outcast or anyone that’s ever felt different. There’s a place for you.

Dead End Kids #3 from Source Point Press is currently available at your local comic shop.

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