REVIEW: ‘Dudley Datson And The Forever Machine,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dudley Datson and the Forever Machine #1

Dudley Datson and the Forever Machine #1 is written by Scott Snyder, penciled by Jamal Igle, inked by Juan Castro, colored by Chris Sotomayor, and lettered by Tom Napolitano. It’s published by Comixology under Snyder’s Best Jackett Press imprint. 15-year-old Dudley Datson is an aspiring inventor who hones his talent at the Brooklyn Academy of Engineering. Yet he can’t seem to invent something that will cure his ailing father and is torn about where his future leads. The decision’s taken out of his hands when the mysterious group known as the Needle’s Eye attacks his school, leaving him to go on the run with a talking dog named Daedelus.

Yes, you heard right. This is a comic book with a talking dog, as well as shape-changing clothes, robot suits, and a mysterious yet menacing man in a golden plague doctor’s mask. Such outlandish ideas are an old hat for Snyder, who’s perfected them in his work at DC Comics, especially the Metal Wars saga, and his creator-owned work such as Nocterra. What makes this comic different is how it’s clearly slated for a younger audience. From the aspect of a talking dog to a teenage protagonist,  Dudley Datson skews far lighter than Snyder’s previous body of work. But that’s a feature, not a bug, as it shows that he’s willing to step outside his comfort zone.

It’s also a set-up that immensely speaks to me. It’s rare for a young adult story to have a Black teenager at the center of the story, let alone one who’s a genius-level inventor. Snyder’s script takes the time to immerse readers in Dudley’s world, introducing people to his dad and his friend, Ohno, as well as slowly trickling in the more fantastic elements. Other comics like Killadelphia and Excellence have taken a similar approach and have Black protagonists, and I look forward to the day when books like this are the norm rather than a rarity. It also helps that Snyder’s joined by a Black artist in Igle, who gives the world texture and heft. From the curls in Dudley’s hair to the tufts in Daedelus’ fur, there’s plenty of detail, especially in the first two pages, which feature a series of panels set in a massive labyrinth.

Topping everything off is Sotomayor, who gives the issue a lush and vibrant color palette. There’s bright red, mainly in Dudley’s hoodie and the cloak the mysterious antagonist is wearing. There’s a sky blue, especially in the narrative captions from Napolitano. And most importantly, Sotomayor knows how to differentiate between different skin tones – Dudley and Ohno actually look Black and Hispanic. These colors help sell the fantasy/sci-fi vibe of the book and make New York feel like the cultural melting pot that it is in real life.

Dudley Datson and the Forever Machine #1  truly feels like it’s made for everyone and embodies the pure creative spirit of comics. Snyder’s been on a roll with his creator-owned work, and I definitely can’t wait for future issues of Dudley Datson as well as Snyder and Igle’s future projects. Definitely pick it up if you love the work that Snyder’s been doing with Comixology so far.

Dudley Datson and the Forever Machine #1 will be available to read via Comixology on July 19, 2022.


Dudley Datson and the Forever Machine #1
4.5

TL;DR

Dudley Datson and the Forever Machine #1  truly feels like it’s made for everyone and embodies the pure creative spirit of comics. Snyder’s been on a roll with his creator-owned work, and I definitely can’t wait for future issues of Dudley Datson as well as Snyder and Igle’s future projects. Definitely pick it up if you love the work that Snyder’s been doing with Comixology so far.

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