Thursday, September 01, 2016

Dick Tracy's Final Problem

One of the most rewarding things about reading Mike Curtis and Joe Staton's Dick Tracy is that each story is packed with literary, cultural, and comic strip references that can be very rewarding for the careful reader. In this case, from August-September 2016, it's the final showdown between assassin Abner Kadaver and Dick Tracy. 

For mystery readers, the location has meaning. The Swiss Reichenbach Falls was where Sherlock Holmes confronted his greatest adversary, Professor Moriarty. Not only does the setting harken back to that 1893 story, but Kadaver's top hat and cloak also seem to echo the Victorian era.

Although we never get to see what's left of Kadaver's face, we do know one thing -- it's not as bad as Pruneface's. That's a nice reference to Tracy's own canon. Pruneface was a Fifth Columnist who first appeared in a 1942 story line. Although apparently dead, he reappeared in 1983 after being cryogenically frozen. But Kadaver's right -- he was a spy, not a hired assassin, so technically an amateur at death-dealing.

As with Doyle's original tale, both detective and criminal plunge over the falls. And only one (apparently) survives. Which leads to a very curious cameo...

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