Dead Inside Volume 1 is a collection of the first five issues of the titular series, which revolves around Linda Caruso, a former beat cop who finds herself in the Jail Crimes Division after encouragement from her superior. However, her first case is baffling–somehow a massive inmate was overtaken by a small tweaker, who subsequently cut a large chunk out of his chest and then committed suicide.
While Detective Caruso is adjusting to her new role away from the streets she finds herself simultaneously having to deal with the expected problems of a woman in law enforcement as the investigation carries on. Caruso is repeatedly shut out from proceedings, she isn’t taken seriously, and she must constantly prove that she is fit for the job all while unintentionally discovering uncomfortable truths about the people involved in the case.
Dead Inside Volume 1 is a gritty series that has a modern take on the hardboiled detectives usually found in Sam Spade radio broadcasts or Dragnet episodes. Its character and grit come from the art style, the characters, and the realistic way that the story is presented. All of Â the characters, especially lead Caruso, are insanely flawed human beings who are full of complexity and this makes the dynamic in Dead Inside Volume 1 supremely interesting.
For example, Linda Caruso is not a perfect heroine, she has many issues that she deals with throughout the issues and often does not handle difficulty with a hero’s grace and patience. She instead acts like a detective that is just trying to do her job in spite of mounting obstacles and this makes her more relatable to the reader, her frustrations creating tension and suspense as the narrative continues.
Another notable aspect to Dead Inside Volume 1 is the art style, which is (purposefully) rough and unfinished, giving the characters more personality while also doing justice to some of the coarse panels that are meant to be grittier. For instance, the style exacerbates the crime scene and adds an almost eerily realistic touch that bridges fantasy and reality, making some tough moments more impactful and memorable.
Overall, I highly recommend Dead Inside Volume 1 for any true crime, horror, or noir fan as this collection is a wonderful introduction to what is hopefully a long running series.
Catch Dead Inside Volume 1 when it releases from Dark Horse on August 16, 2017