Dash #5 — Return of the Gay Detective
Smartly, writer Dave Ebersole begins the issue with a “story so far” section that fits nicely into the hardboiled PI’s tendency to monologue, in keeping with the genre, while bringing the forgetful reader up to speed with the current case. After a reminder that Dash was drummed off the police force for being gay, there’s a resurrected Egyptian mummy to stop and a mystical artifact to find.
Also appealing is how much of this issue is a flashback to Dash’s dead lover (a thief and con artist). That tragedy is also genre-authentic, but that kind of relationship focus — how his sexuality brands him in 1940s LA — is what sets Dash apart from the typical Marlowe-wannabe. And it provides some necessary emotional heft to what would otherwise be chasing a monster around town.
This issue, Vinnie Rico takes over as artist from Delia Gable. His work has the same clean character lines, which makes for a good match. (It’s directly comparable because Gable’s panels are reprinted for the flashback.) I like his expressiveness, particularly with faces, since there’s a lot of dialogue to keep visually interesting. He also does a good creepy, aged mummy and nicely fills in the settings for realism.
I’m eager to see the case wrap up next issue, as Dash’s friends and helpers converge to stop your typical “aim to rule the world” types. Preview pages are available at the publisher’s website or the book’s website. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)