Sometimes the story of how a comic comes to be is almost as interesting as the comic itself [think the metamorphosis of The Middleman from spec script to comic; from comic to TV series, and from TV series back to comic…]. Deadlocke, written by Arvid Nelson and drawn by Nick Stakal, has followed almost as interesting path.
This fresh take on the Jekyll/Hyde story first saw the light of day as a young adult novel called Venomous, by Chris Krovatin. Krovatin then adapted the novel into a movie script which, in turn, has become the comic Deadlocke.
Basically, the story is about Locke Vinetti, a seventeen-year old boy who has anger issues – potentially deadly issues. Y’see, when his temper is provoked, he goes from calm and cool to totally gonzo with no middle ground. One second he’s cool, the next he’s a raving berserker.
He tries to sublimate his anger by creating a comic about a character named Deadlocke – who has the same problem – and it seems to be working. Thanks to an amoral bartender named Casey, he’s found the woman of his dreams, but Casey – who is no fan of happy – provokes him to the point of no return and Locke’s Jekyll becomes Deadlocke’s Hyde.
One of the lovely things about Deadlocke – it’s a one-shot, by the way – is that we get no origin story. We have intriguing characters into whose lives we are suddenly thrust. Nelson’s writing is sharp and witty and Stakal’s art is somewhere between comic-booky and impressionistic [it reminds me a bit of Frank Robbins’ run on DC’s The Shadow in the seventies].
There are several interviews with both Krovatin and Nelson on YouTube. Here are links to two of them:
Chris Krovatin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVJR5EfQri8
Arvid Nelson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCRHSSi6avE
Final Grade: B+