If Matt Hawkins is writing a book, most likely I am reading it. The one-shot issue of “Dante” (also co-written by Jason Ning) is no exception. As the book beings we are quickly thrown into Dante’s world, where he is a top assassin. But Dante is living a double life, as he also plays the role of a loving husband and father in a “normal” family setting. After years of servitude, Dante decides he wants out and thinks he can get off without any consequences. On one of his last jobs, Dante takes with him the man who is going to eventually replace him. During the job, he quickly realizes that he has been set up. While attempting to get away he accidently kills a young Asian boy, this ends up having grave consequences as the boy’s grandmother curses him which causes him to be covered in tattoos. To make matters worse, he tries going home only to find his wife and daughter missing. The rest of the book focuses on Dante trying to find his family as well as discover how working toward redeeming his life of violence will one by one remove each tattoo on his body and he will begin with a black bird.
“Dante” does a fantastic job at setting up the main character in the first few pages of the book. We understand how he operates as an assassin as well as how he operates as a family man. Other than that not a lot of background on the character is given. We know that he wants to quit that violent life but of course he has a lifetime of baggage that he carries with him, and we know this because thanks to the curse he now carries that baggage on his skin. The only way to remove the tattoos is to atone for his sins one by one. This issue goes on to atone for one of his sins which focus on his first assassination. The book ends with the words “the beginning”. I am guessing that if this one-shot does well we are going get at least a mini-series of Dante. I feel that the genius behind this book is that every symbol on his body has a meaning (like the black bird) and of course there is a story behind it. With that we are going to dig deeper and deeper into Dante’s past and personality and with a great creative team behind it, I have no doubt that it would be done really well. Eventually cleansing his body and hopefully recovering his family. Or what if there are some sins he cannot get passed? I am very interested to read some more about this character!
Overall this is a very solid book. It is a great beginning to what I hope ends up being picked up for a mini-series or on-going title. The writing is complimented by a great artistic team that does a great job putting details from panel to panel, I can’t imagine how tedious it must be to have to draw those tattoos over and over again. I really like the colors throughout the book as well. Personally I am yet to pick up a Matt Hawkins title that I did not enjoy, this one is no exception. This one in my opinion even has the opportunity to be a very interesting television series as each episode can focus on yet another tattoo on his body, all while he tries and find his family. So take a break from your mainstream books and give this great book a shot!
Check out a preview below!
Publisher: Top Cow Productions Inc. / Image Comics
Writers: Matt Hawkins & Jason Ning
Artwork: Darick Robertson
Colors: Diego Rodriguez