‘Dick Tracy #1’ Is a Hard-Hitting Detective Noir

Does the new ‘Dick Tracy’ series do the iconic character justice?

This review was made possible by an advanced copy of Dick Tracy #1 provided to Agents of Fandom by Mad Cave Studios.

Dick Tracy, the iconic hard-boiled pulp detective, returns in an all-new series from Mad Cave. Rebooting the classic detective, writers Alex Segura and Michael Moreci, along with artist Geraldo Borges, deliver an action-packed issue that brings Dick Tracy back to his grounded noir origins for our modern times.

The Legacy of Dick Tracy

A photo of cartoonist Chester Gould, the creator of Dick Tracy, holding up one of his sketches of the iconic detective | Agents Of Fandom
Dick Tracy creator Chester Gould could never have imagined the heights his creation would reach. Image Credit: Oklahoma Historical Society.

Dick Tracy was created by cartoonist Chester Gould in 1931 and first debuted in the Detroit Mirror. The strip follows the tough and rugged Dick Tracy, who becomes a detective to avenge the death of his girlfriend’s father. Tracy was always a product of his time, with the character based on Elliot Ness, a prohibition officer famous for bringing down Al Capone. Beginning as a grounded noir crime book, Dick Tracy has gone through many different adventures through the decades, with later stories introducing more sci-fi elements, such as taking Tracy to space and encountering aliens.

Whether hunting down mobsters or traveling through space, Tracy has remained an iconic character in comics and pop culture, being featured in numerous comics, radio shows, and network television, and even being one of the first comic characters to receive a big-budget film in the ’90s. Now Tracy returns with an all-new creative team to bring the character back to his roots in the gripping new series.

‘Dick Tracy #1’ Feels Modern and Accessible – And That’s Good

Still from Dick Tracy number 1 a shootout in a diner | Agents of Fandom
Dick Tracy #1 doesn’t shy away from its depiction of violence. Image Credit: Geraldo Borges/ Mad Cave Studios.

Dick Tracy #1 sets the tone early in its opening pages as we see city alderman Emil Truehart and a crime reporter get caught up in a mob hit in The Green Eye Diner. Segura and Moreci don’t hold back in showing us the gritty and violent world in which Tracy operates, with Borges’ art emphasizing the brutality of this world and time.

This brutal murder sets the stage for the mystery that Tracy must investigate. Segura and Moreci succeed at making the story feel of its time without being overtly cheesy or derivative. The dialogue is reminiscent of the period but doesn’t come off as a parody of a mobster movie.

Segura and Moreci execute the character’s reboot seamlessly in this first issue. With some minor changes to the character’s origin, it’s both accessible to new readers and also feels like a love letter to the classic comic strip. While the book takes place in 1941, it feels much more modern in its writing, especially in its treatment of characters like Tess Truehart, giving her more autonomy and making her more of a focus than just part of the supporting cast. While this is a retelling, it’s clear that the writing duo knows their history, and the readers will feel their passion and love for this character on every page.

Geraldo Borges’ Art Gives Dick Tracy New Life

Art by Geraldo Borges showcasing Dick Tracy in the first issue of Dick Tracy #1 | Agents Of Fandom
The iconic detective returns in an all-new light. Image Credit: Geraldo Borges/ Mad Cave Studios.

The story and mystery are paced out beautifully in this first issue, but it’s the art that really will grab readers and pull them into the world of Dick Tracy. Being such an iconic character, Tracy and the world he lives in has a distinctive look that fans have come to recognize. Just like with the writing, Geraldo Borges perfectly dances the line between homage and creative re-imagining.

The art is super clean and crisp with a lot of bold line work, representative of the old pulp-style comic strips but more modernized and detailed. Tracy still sports his iconic square chiseled jawline but with more facial detail, able to express more emotion. This doesn’t feel like a new Dick Tracy, but rather like seeing the original in a new light.

Borges uses shadows with ink blots, making them feel like they are printed on a newspaper to give it that old comic strip feel — a clever and creative way to portray not only the time period of the story but celebrate the history of the character.

‘Dick Tracy #1’ Review: Tracy Is Back and Better Than Ever

Art by Brent Schoonover and Nick Filardi of Dick Tracy getting ready for a fight for Cover B of Dick Tracy #1 | Agents of Fandom
Dick Tracy is always ready for action. Image Credit: Brent Schoonover & Nick Filardi/ Mad Cave Studios.

Dick Tracy #1 is a hard-hitting detective noir that will instantly grab readers from its first opening pages with its gripping action and layered mystery. This issue is a love letter to the classic Dick Tracy comics bringing the character to the modern age without sacrificing any of the rich history of the hard-boiled detective fans love.

The issue is perfect for long-time fans of the character as well as new readers like myself, providing all the context necessary to understand what’s going on even without having to read a previous Dick Tracy comic strip. The book also treats long-time fans with this first issue, introducing some of Tracy’s famous rouges’ gallery of villains. Whether you’re a fan of Dick Tracy or just a good detective crime thriller, this is a book you don’t want to miss.

Be sure to grab Dick Tracy #1 in stores on April 24, 2024.

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'Dick Tracy #1' Review

'Dick Tracy #1' Review
4 5 0 1
4.0 rating
Total Score

The Good

  • Exceptional art ensures the new take on Dick Tracy remains recognizable.
  • Great writing brings the story into the modern age while maintaining the period feel.
  • An interesting and fresh take on an iconic character.

The Bad

  • Could have revealed a bit more about the mystery to really hook audiences for Issue 2.
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