Review: Dexter’s Half Dozen: The Stone Child (Dead Star Publishing)

oneWe take a look at Deadstar Publishing’s Dexter’s Half Dozen, the labour of love from Jamie Lambert and Kevin Davies which tells the story of what happens when a 60’s war movie unit meets a supernatural horror setting. Can this series blow the competition away or will it end up buried alive?

Publisher: Deadstar Publishing
Writer: Jamie Lambert, Kevin Davies (Editor-In-Chief)
Artist: David Clifford, Simon Wyatt (End of Part 1), Danny J. Weston (Letterer)
Price: £12.00 at deadstarpublishing.co.uk


Dexter’s Half Dozen: The Stone Child follows Sgt Freeman, a dedicated and brave soldier in His Majesty’s Army, who is first call when a mission requires maximum carnage. Because of this skill, Freeman finds himself recruited by a Theological Archaeologist named Dexter Kilby who is putting together a special sort of team to battle the Axis powers and their focus on the supernatural. Now Freeman, along with two hardened criminals, a crazy pilot and a German speaking priest must travel behind enemy lines to rescue a top spy while battling the forces of the undead which the top Nazi occultist has seen fit to raise.

Jamie Lambert has written a fun story in Dexter’s Half Dozen, which imbues a real pulpy feel to it. This series seems to have been influenced by films such as the Dirty Dozen or Hogan’s Heroes based on it’s content of an eclectic team of soldiers put together for an impossible mission, or even the original Losers in terms of a comic comparison. However, unlike those stories, Dexter’s Half Dozen is a far more horror themed title, with a Hellboy influence definitely jumping from each page. (Even if the story’s tone has a more Atomic Robo feel to it thanks to a lighter atmosphere).

Although this makes for a fun read, the title is not without its problems and and this comes primarily in its pacing. Despite starting off well, this issue feels like it is derailed upon the arrival of some background exposition and struggles to regain the momentum after. Also, the characters aren’t exactly in depth, three dimensional personalities, instead they feel like cookie cutter templates of specific archetypes. That said, these doesn’t take away from the fact DHD is still an enjoyable enough story.

David Clifford’s (and Simon Wyatt’s) art style is very rough and a little bit cartoony and while this might be considered a negative, it actually works in the title’s favour, as it helps push that more Mike Mignola vibe of the story. It is also reminiscent of Vince Hunt’s Red Mask from Mars (mixed with the exaggeration of Chris Imber’s work on Last Sheriff) which helps also maintain that lighter side of the tone. That said, if there is anything problematic about the artwork it would simply be that there wasn’t anything which appeared to be standout through the series, although this does nothing to detract from some great artwork regardless.

Dexter’s Half Dozen feels like a quintessential pulp adventure comic, with an easy going plot, stereotypical characters, horror infused art and a lot of fun action to allow readers to shut off their brains and just enjoy. However, while a number of these things might not be to everyone’s tastes, it was still a fun enough read that it would be worth checking out.

 

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