Philadelphia based comic book publisher 215Ink is releasing its latest series, Deadhorse, in May. Written by Eric Grissom with art and cover by Phil Sloan and colors by David Halvorson, Deadhorse is the tale of William Pike and a key recently delivered to him from his long dead father. William quickly finds out that the company his father once worked for is after the key and is willing to do whatever it takes to get it.
The story starts off with a flashback to the 1800s of an expedition in Alaska as the team finds the object of their quest, a campsite of dead explorers and a mysterious locked box. Moving to the present, William is in deep contemplation on how to dispose of a bug that has found its way into his bathroom. Clearly, William Pike is a man suffering from a severe social disorder. Grissom and Sloan skillfully demonstrate this in a matter of a few pages, establishing that the source of Pike’s adversity throughout the story is going to be as much internal as it is external. The external component of that struggle becomes apparent, shortly after Pike finally gets himself to leave his apartment, during a run in with his elderly neighbors.
Deadhorse #1 is definitely one of those first issues that could have benefited from extra pages, as just as the story gets going, the issue is over. That is not to say little happens during the issue, as a good amount of necessary set up, tone and characterization were established during the issue, but more of the actual quest would have been nice.
While Deadhorse is certainly an adventure story, the tone has a quirkiness to it, reminiscent of Image Comics‘ Chew series. It adds much to the character of the story especially that of William Pike’s mental state, but too much of it has the potential of dragging the reader from the story (such as a parrot flying out of a fish sandwich…). In addition to the story itself, Sloan’s art adds an additional layer of enjoyment with its thoughtfully detailed art, again, much like that of Chew‘s Rob Guillory’s art.
Deadhorse is off to a promising start, with a quirky tone and unconventional lead character, but subsequent issues are needed to know if the ongoing adventure will be as fun.
Deadhorse #1 will be released on May 9, 2012. Comic shops may place orders through Liber Comic Distributor. Readers may place direct mail orders with 215Ink. To find a comic book store near you, go to www.comicshoplocator.com. Digital versions are also available on various platforms, including the 215Ink iPad App and iVerse Apps.