Review: Sandman Universe: Dead Boy Detectives #4

by Steve J. Ray
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Dead Boy Detectives #4
Writer: Pornsak Pichetshote
Artists: Javier Rodríguez, Jeff Stokely, Craig Taillefer
Color Artist: Miquel Muerto
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Reviewed By Steve J. Ray


Ghosts, maggots, amulets, floating heads, and cubism (ish). All of these and more can be found on the pages of Sandman Universe: Dead Boy Detectives #4.


Oh, wow! This issue’s absolutely brilliant! The action ramps up, the mystery deepens, and we get answers… plus even more questions.

We left Charles, Edwin, Jai, Tanya, and Melvin on the search for who could possibly summon Thai spirits in America, and an amulet of power. Let’s just say that even ghosts should be careful about what they wish for. Oh… and poor old Charles has been cursed for falling in love with Tanya.

This series raises so many fascinating questions. If ghosts are already dead, how can ghost flesh rot? How do ghosts have feelings if they don’t have bodies, nerve endings, or hormones? Can a ghost, a being that’s already dead, be killed? Pornsak Pichetshote’s writing one hell of a tale, not just because of the haunted goings on, but also because of all the wonderful semi-autobiographical touches he adds, due to being a Thai-American. Honestly, this series is great.

This isn’t just a horror story either, as we get some amazing social commentary here too. Shootings in schools, bullying, racism; all these topics are handled in this issue. The best thing is Pichetshote’s not smacking us around the head with politics, he’s doing what all the best writers do by using fiction to hold a cautionary mirror over fact. Why is it only children that seem to be capable of learning and wanting change? Have all adults truly just given up?

We have a guest artist drawing all but the final page this month, too. (Jeff Stokely fans, worry not, as the regular team handles the final page, which will blow your minds!) The art in Sandman Universe: Dead Boy Detectives #4 is handled by the brilliant Javier Rodríguez. I’ve been following this artist’s work since the late 90s when he worked for the publisher Ediciones La Cúpula. He was one of many artists working on the wild and whacky title El Víbora, published in our native country of Spain between 1979 and 2005. American comics fans may primarily know him as a color artist, from titles such as Batgirl: Year One for DC, but this guy can draw! His work on this issue’s lovely, and I would dearly love to see even more of his art across DC in months and years to come.

Miquel Muerto and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou continue to delight with their colors and letters, with pages 23 and 24 being real standouts for both artists.


Again, I’m just nit-picking… where’s Thessaly?!?


Gun crime, the problems faced by immigrants, the struggle to be heard, and the loss of innocence. All of these and more can be found on the pages of Sandman Universe: Dead Boy Detectives #4.

If you’re not picking this series up, then you’re seriously missing out.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment

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