Running to the Past – The Complete Deadenders

Thirteen years ago during the year 2000, Ed Brubaker and Warren Pleece put out a little book called Deadenders through Vertigo.  It is a science fiction tale about a post-apocalyptic world where things went bad and during everyone’s daily life, things do not get much better than that.  It lasted sixteen issues and told a complete over-arcing story with drama, action and paranoia.

The tale recounts the goings on of a guy named Beezer, who is a drug runner for the local dealer.  He goes about his days hanging out with his friends, slinging pills and trying to hold onto his girlfriend.  The strange thing is he keeps having flashes to what he thinks might be an alternate timeline, or the past or simply some sort of dream.  He does not know anyone else that has what he has so he keeps silent about the visions until one day, he can do so no longer.  He soon runs afoul of the science corp. that are looking to capture and use him for nefarious ends until he is let go by a Dr. Gagon.  As the series winds down, Beezer comes to understand with the help of a girl named Anna just what happened to make the world the way it is and what his destiny in all of it ends up being.

Written by Ed Brubaker, the series is not something you expect to see from the author today as most of his work is more grounded in reality, crime, suspense and even a little horror.  So to see a science fiction book from the writer is an intriguing item.  The book started off a little slow, but soon gained traction as it moved on.  The artwork by Warren Pleece seemed a little cartoonish at first and not a right fit as the book would have faired better with an artist who had a grittier feel.  As the book moved along, it is hard to imagine it without Pleece’s art.

One of the bright spots in the book was the many characters that we were introduced to.  They were written so well, that it almost seemed as if Beezer’s friends could be your friends and his problems – yours.  The familiarity of the people in the book make you feel more invested in the story which is something that cannot be said for too many books.  Beezer is an angry young man and reflects that pent up rage that everyone feels sometimes and where we hold it in, Beezer lets it out.  Aside from the drug dealing, he could be the reader of the book as we can empathize with him and his problems.

There are a lot of great science fiction books that have been published over the years.  Brubaker and Pleece created a nice, low-key story filled with all manner of action and intrigue, drama and suspense; filled with people that are all too human.  All in all, a really great book that may have flown under the radar at the time, and even more so now, but is worth searching out for a completely riveting, long form story about a future that was never meant to be.

4 out of 5

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