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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Whatever You Want: Sandman Presents the Dead Boy Detectives

The Dead Boy Detectives

By: Ed Brubaker

For those of you that know me, you know that Sandman is my favorite series. I'm suck a dork for it that I'm collecting all of the Sandman Presents and Dreaming that I can get my hands on. That being said, I don't know what took me so long to actually read this book. I'd blame Rob, but I can't.

The story starts with Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland opening their own detective agency. They have one advantage over any other agency in the world: they're dead. That's right, both boys died and refused to go with Death to the lands beyond. They are almost hired by Marcia, a runaway, to solve the murders of her friends. She leaves without hiring them because she thinks that they are nothing more than kids playing at being detectives. Charles falls pretty hard for her so he drags Edwin into trying to solve the case. They go and look at one of the bodies, only to find out that it looks like it has been sucked dry of everything that once made it a person.

This is where the story gets good for any Sandman fan. You get to revisit some of the ensemble cast that made up Sandman. The boys meet Mad Hettie, thinking she is a witch that is killing the kids. They go down into the tube tunnels and find the runaways' village. They run into Marcia while chasing down a mysterious man that was watching the village. Edwin and Charles lose him in the tunnels, so they head back to their treetop headquarters. The mysterious man, also known as the Marquis de Marquez, is there waiting for them. He tells them a tale of a man in search of the carefree days of childhood. The man found a way, he had to drain the life essence of a child to shed ten years and to slow the effects of time. The spell's effect was short lived and he had to keep draining children to keep his new found lifespan. He was condemned as a murderer, but his body was pulled from the fire before it was consumed.

The Marquis tells Edwin and Charles that he is from a long line of men that have been chasing the bad guy, always one step behind him. He entrusts the task of finding the guy because they boys will go on forever while he gets old. He pays the boys with a gold coin as a down payment and trains them on how to use their ghost powers to find the bad guy. They do find the bad guy, his name is Hob Gadling (yes that Hob Gadling, the one that Dream meets every hundred years).

I really enjoyed this book. It was quick paced and just kept the action going. Edwin and Charles are really fun characters. They are eternal children, spending their days haunting movie theaters and libraries to become detectives. Ed Brubaker continues his spellbinding magic on me. Keep an eye out for a couple extra articles from me in the next week or so as I frantically catch up on the weeks I missed writing.

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