Comic Book Review: Dengue HC
“Dengue” takes place in Montevideo, Guatemala and the end of the world is upon us. Mosquitoes have descended upon the world and are killing people through the Dengue virus. People can only go outside if they wear heavy duty hazmat suits and even then, it’s only done when absolutely necessary. At the center of this is Police Sergeant Pronzini and reporter Valeria Bonilla. Pronzini is tasked with investigating a murder that brings him into a much bigger conspiracy involving victims of the Dengue disease. As you can gather from the cover, the disease is not all it seems to be since it’s been evolving.
“Dengue” is one part The X-Files and one part Law & Order but it works. This is initially a police procedural set in a very bizarre world but once we get deeper into the mystery surrounding the mosquitoes and the third strain of the disease, things veer into a very cool paranormal realm. Pronzini is a very well crafted character because there’s a certain amount of skepticism to him but he’s not an idiot. He’s arguably the best pure detective in Montevideo and with that comes a certain level of sarcasm and intelligence. What’s incredibly interesting about him is that while is a more thoughtful character who values facts, he avoids the trope of cold hearted detective when the scope of the disease is realized. He shows more practicality but also heart when he puts himself on the line for the truth. The same praise can be given for the characterization of Valeria Bonilla. She’s a woman with career goals but she’s not devaluing herself and she does, to an extent, do the right thing in the end.
“Dengue” does something The X-Files used to do quite often. Something bigger than the characters is happening but at the end, what changed by having the knowledge? Santullo and Bergara approach this from a very realistic point of view and it may be a little cynical but I think it brings something a bit different to this kind of story. I liked the way the different stories came together and I especially like the open ended nature of the ending.
Bergara’s artwork is very good. He has a very distinct style when it comes to character designs. Pronzini’s facial expressions and mannerisms are great because he has these amazing moments of sarcasm that are sold better through his physical reactions. He physically isn’t in spectacular shape. Instead he channels the washed up detective vibe with the bad shirts and grizzled face. It adds to this level of layered conflict with the character that makes him so interesting. The action scenes have a lot of movement and Bergara builds a very nice level of tension in each of these moments. The creature designs are gruesome and horrifying which really sells the horror aspect of this series, however, there is a glimpse of humanity in each design which is helpful in getting the bigger point across.
“Dengue” is a solid post apocalyptic, crime, horror mashup. Santullo and Bergara give us something different enough to be worth the cover price. Pronzini is a great character and given the way things develop, there’s still some stuff here worth exploring. Fans of “The Walking Dead” will find much to enjoy here.