As written by Brandon Marth:
Dead Boy Detectives #8 (Toby Litt), continues following Charles’ quest as he seeks out the cause of his mother’s death. As he searches for answers he and Edwin are lead to Clementine’s mother, Isolde, who not only knows the truth of the matter behind the death of the Charles’ mother but can see him when he is in his intangible ghostly state; which is the most interesting and important aspect of this issue from a philosophical sense and prompts what may potentially be one of the most interesting devices in plot development I’ve seen in a comic book. This is what this review is going to focus on rather than plot detail.
Isolde can see Charles in his intangible state; I repeat a living person is able to see Charles in his intangible state. This is critical not only in terms of where the story may go as this opens many doors for future plot development but resonates a philosophic core that evokes further exploration. Seeing as Charles’ is dead there’s no reason any living person should be able to detect him as he stalks about invisibly yet being well advanced in age and presumably close to death Isolde is able to see him. Based off of this it is suggested that those who are nearing death are able to see those of a paranormal nature because they are between worlds.
Following this ideology the story is suggesting that it may (and hopefully will) incorporate those between worlds as a link between the living and the dead, allowing for a better scope and depth to be conveyed throughout the series. Death is the great unknown and while yes, this series is following the adventures of the dead, it is also now bringing up the possibility that the true nature of learning more about death itself and the true nature of life is through those who are between worlds. If this series begins exploring this avenue in a more dynamic fashion this philosophic idea of embracing both life and death through the eyes of one on the brink of both, it may just offer the most interesting commentary on both subjects since Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (where the Dead Boys originated from).
The biggest negatives to this idea are very plain and simple. This is a philosophic idea that may not be a permanent fixture in the series and because of this, it sadly may not be fully utilized in the most efficient manner. Also it’s worth noting that this idea has the great misfortune of potentially being overused and less effective as a whole because of that.
The Dead Boy Detectives series is getting better with each issue and is rather fast paced, this issue like every other in this series will not bore any reader unless the concept of paranormal detective stories are simply outside of your tastes. Even then this series is worth a look. This issue especially is the most interesting by far simply for this philosophic exploration that it has prompted and I can’t see where this idea is taken. Isolde has only made a brief appearance in this issue but due to what she knows of Charles’ mother it’s safe to say that she is here for quite a few more appearances and there’s an equally great chance that this exploration through the eyes of those between life and death will become a well utilized device that allows for great commentary on the two greatest aspects of mankind, the two great unknowns.