Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sinister Dexter: Eurocrash

Here's how this works. I read a book or two and tell you about them and try not to get too long-winded. This time, a review of Sinister Dexter: Eurocrash (volume 4) (Rebellion, 2009).

Having spoken of 2001's episodes of Sinister Dexter in recent installments of Thrillpowered Thursday, let's dive back into the duo's recent past and the new collected edition of "Eurocrash." Like "I Say Hello," this is a straight-up Sin Dex classic. The collection starts with a couple of short stories and then dives right in to the exceptional, epic-length storyline in which crime queenpin Demi Octavo's hold over her city slips out from under her, leading to blood in the streets. By the time it's over, the balance of power in Downlode is changed forever, and Sinister and Dexter go their separate ways, each determined to ferret out the mysterious parties behind the carnage, and to never see each other again.

Which makes it incredibly hard to understand why, when you turn the page, the deadly duo are working together as a team.

Rebellion's line of reprints is easily the best in the industry right now. They do a laudable job 49 times out of 50, picking great material and presenting it in a standout format, on glossy paper, with matte-finish covers and typically some very nice extras. Well, their skimpy little creator biography paragraphs could use a little work, but otherwise it's a terrific reprint line. That's what makes this book so darned hard to understand. For some utterly baffling reason, the collection skips over twenty-four freaking episodes of the series.

As screw-ups go, this one ranks up there. The whole phase of the series when it was retitled Downlode Tales is excised, as well as two one-offs that ran alongside Eurocrash's earliest episodes and set up characters who would reappear within the bigger epic. What you got in those 24 episodes, apart from some very nice artwork by Simon Davis, Greg Staples and Chris Weston, among others, were some critical continuing subplots, the return of Billie Octavo and the deaths of several major recurring players, including both Bunkum and Nervous Rex. Oh yeah, and the whole point, the whole payoff, of the vengeful promises of the last two pages of "Eurocrash." At least Monty Python gave us a "scene missing" screen; this book just hopes you're not reading very closely.

I've never said this about a Rebellion book before, but this is one to avoid. Do not buy this book. They should pulp every copy they can get their hands on and issue a second edition with "Lone Shark," "The Ass Kickers," "Scrubbers" and "The Whack Pack" following Eurocrash. The fifth Sin Dex collection should have "City on Fire" and "Lock and 'Lode" and then the four stories which conclude this book: "Exit Wounds," "Observations," "Mission to Mangapore" and "Life Behind Bars," and probably a couple of other episodes after them. Otherwise, neither this nor the next book are worth purchasing. Speaking as a huge fan of the publisher and a pretty big fan of Sin Dex, I wish I didn't have to say that.

(Excerpted from Thrillpowered Thursday.)

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