REVIEW: Dash: The Case of the Mysterious Zita Makara #4

By Dave Ebersole & Delia Gable
Publisher: North West Press

Poor Dash Malone.  His lover is dead, his client is locked up and there is still a murdering monster loose in Los Angles.  Seems like it never rains till it pours.

This issue of Northwest Press’ series continues with a historical type of monologue, giving explanations to some of the scenes from previous issues.  This comes as welcome relief, as too much setup, with a lack of decent punchline, can ruin any story. That said, writer Dave Ebersole delivers the required back story in a way that is reminiscent of Babylon 5 at its worst.  Granted, as this is a comic book we do get to actually see the story along side a couple of more present day occurrences.  At times, it seems that Ebersole is trying to shock readers, potentially with the sexuality of more than one character, but to readers who have enjoyed the previous issues, this will seem old hat.  Dialogue wise, the book reads well, with just the amount of disbelief from Dash and condescension from Miss Makara.

Delia Gabel provides the art which certainly has an indie feel to it.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but those expecting a darker style, with this being 1940’s Los Angles, may be disappointed with the lack of noir like details.  Instead, for the most part, we have structured panels giving a somewhat uniform feel to the book.  The only real exception to the rule is the conversation between Dash and Johnny in bed, which when placed on a black background does give that idea of it both happening at night and the relationship being (for the time period at least), somewhat illicit.

Being a fan of both the gum-shoe and noir genres, I didn’t know what to expect from this book.  After reading it a couple of time, I am still not sure if I am sold on it.  The sexual proclivities of character certainly, in my eyes, doesn’t make me judge them.  In fact I would go as far to say, I genuinely don’t care.  Yes, I agree that comics should be as diverse as the world we live in, but for me it’s just not a selling point. I would prefer to have an organic story filled with realistic characters.  To some extent Ebersole  manages that, with some great scripting between Dash and Johnny, although it is hidden between the meanderings of Miss Makara.  This book feels like a diamond in the rough in need of a little bit of polish and panache.

Dash #4 is a 24-page, full color comic book that retails for $3.99. Ask your local shop to use Diamond item code NOV141556.

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