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A Dummy's Guide to Danger    by Jason Burns & Ron Chan order for
Dummy's Guide to Danger
by Jason Burns
Order:  USA  Can
Viper Comics, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Amused as we can be by ventriloquists and their dolls, we're also a bit skeptical of an adult who feels the need to express himself or herself through the use of a lifeless artifact. This is fantastically represented by the villain, the Ventriloquist in Batman comics. Possessed dolls could make an entire subgenre within horror itself. But what happens when the ventriloquist's dummy is not a villain, but a hero? Jason Burns and Ron Chan took it one step further and made their dummy, Mr. Bloomberg, a paraplegic; not by nature, but because he risked his life to save private investigator Alan Sirois.

Mr. Bloomberg and Alan are partners, solving whatever crime falls on their doorstep - and this time, they've got one crazy case. A serial killer, known as the Flesh Collector has arrived in town. With the intent of making the perfect body, this psychopath is stealing body parts of numerous celebrities throughout Los Angeles. Alan and Mr. Bloomberg are on the trail, but always a foot behind, showing up after the Flesh Collector has left and just as the police have arrived. Their repeated presence at murder scenes lead the police to suspect Alan, especially since he walks around with a talking doll.

A Dummy's Guide to Danger is a fun and exciting story with a light touch of humor and eccentricity. It's interesting how the creators never clearly acknowledge whether Mr. Bloomberg is a real person or just an extension of Alan's mind. It's tricky because otherwise, Alan appears as the typical private investigator with all his senses intact.

While the individual issues of this series came in standard comic book size, this collection comes in a smaller digest size (5.5 inches by 8.5 inches) format. It doesn't appear to interfere with the art, which overall works well with the story and narrative style. A bonus story, Kitty Eater, is by contrast inferior in its art quality. Overly dark, extra thick lines, and augmented bodily shapes can overwhelm readers and reduce their interest in this story.

A Dummy's Guide to Danger is without doubt an entertaining mystery. It deviates only slightly from the formula with the use of Mr. Bloomberg and the various psychological distortions he potentially presents in Alan, but overall it's a delicious slice of action and intrigue that readers will enjoy. Further elaboration on the relationship between Bloomberg and Alan will prove the driving force in future volumes.

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