The Dare Detectives are an unlikely trio. Maria Dare is a wily, tough ex-con who has gathered together a team of (unlicensed) private investigators. She is joined by Toby, who is big, strong, and not too bright, and Jojo, a bunny with an attitude. Together they solve cases no one else can. In these volumes, they have to deal with the schemes of Madame Bleu, whose band of panda henchmen has kidnapped local restaurateur Uncle Chan. Also, they have stolen all the snow peas in town. There are other crazy characters along the way, including the flaming monkey villain Furious George and some brutish Abominable Snowmen.
Writer/artist Ben Caldwell is best known for his work in toy and animation development, but he also has drawn a number of prominent comic book tie-ins, including Justice League Unlimited and Star Wars: Clone Wars. His animation roots show through in this book, with its vibrant colors and energetic illustrations. His work has won some praise, and he was nominated for the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award. This interview casts light on his career and this series.
The reviewers have largely been positive particularly about the art. Martin Gray raved that this book was "a tour de force from an artist who really knows his craft." Mark Allen remarked that Caldwell's "timing, sense of drama and humor are to be admired." Parka wrote that the book was reminiscent of a TV cartoon episode.
These books were published by Dark Horse. A preview is available at Caldwell's website.
A new collected version of these two books is forthcoming from Archaia.