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Comic Book / Sinister Dexter

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Sinister Dexter is a comic series in the British comics anthology 2000 AD, created by Dan Abnett and David Millgate. It first appeared in 2000 AD Winter Special #7 (December, 1995).

Set in the near future, it features the exploits of gun sharks (hitmen) Finnigan "Finny" Sinister and Ramone "Ray" Dexter in the city of Downlode, sprawled across Central Europe. Occasional stories have taken place in other cities, or off planet. Despite its violent nature, the series is often presented with a decidedly tongue-in-cheek tone, often focusing on the ludicrousness of the situations the titular duo find themselves in in order to take out a target, as well as the extremely colourful characters that they encounter along the way.

This comic provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Sinister's Minigun is capable of firing normal and Hi-Ex rounds.
  • Anyone Can Die: A given in a series set in a crime-infested hellhole, whose protagonists kill people for a living. Many supporting characters introduced over the years have met their ends, but this trope didn't really come into force until the shocking death of Demi Octavo. Hell, there was even a period where it seemed like this had been applied to Ray and Finny themselves, although, thankfully, this wasn't really the case: Ray was just hospitalised, while Finny changed his identity and escaped off-planet.
  • Arm Cannon: Kal Cutter's weapon of choice is a poly-alloy prosthetic hand that transforms into a handgun with optional silencer at command.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Ray is a total fashion plate, and LOVES nice suits.
  • Badass Normal: Sinister. Many characters are cyborgs or genetically enhanced. Even Dexter has a Headcase installed, allowing him to have Improbable Aiming Skills and watch tv at the same time. Finny simply relies on his trusty Hand Cannon.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • Dexter's original Headcase is actually a Sony product, but when it's destroyed, he replaces it with a Fony model, which actually turns out to be superior to the old one.
    • A coffee chain called Barstucks tries to run the duo's favourite coffee shop out of business so they pay the place a little visit. The end of the story notes that, for some reason, despite its worldwide mass appeal, Barstucks never does catch on in Downlode.
  • Captain Ersatz: Abnett has stated he based the duo on John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson's characters in Pulp Fiction.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting:
  • Consummate Professional: Finny and Ray pride themselves on their professionalism, and don't let anything get in the way of executing a contract they've accepted. When a contract is placed on "Holy" Moses Tanenbaum, who the boys were working for at the time, he immediately assembles a hit squad to take them out, telling his disbelieving subordinates that their professionalism and reputations will demand that they accept the contract, despite his being their boss and the biggest mafia lord in Downlode. And he's absolutely right.
    • Kal Cutter is forced to learn this the hard way while being mentored by the duo. When Finny and Ray go to accept a contract from a client at a nightclub, Kal meets a pretty girl there, and is then horrified to discover that she's the target. He tries to run with her, with Finny and Ray in pursuit. Eventually, they're cornered, and the duo explain to Kal that being a gunshark means that, above all else, you always finish the job, and can't allow emotion or questions of morals enter into it, even if you believe the target may be innocent. A reluctant Kal takes their words to heart, and shoots the target himself. Or so he makes it seem, as he actually fakes her death.
  • Cool Car: Dexter's Edsel is admired by many characters and serves the duo well for its speed and durability. It's stated to be a modern replica.
  • Cool Shades: Finny's rarely seen without a pair of sunglasses. Which type is, of course, Depending on the Artist, though he is often depicted with round teashades.
  • Creepy Child: Polly Alloy, an exceptionally-lethal, poly-metal killer synthetic whose default appearance is an Adorably Precocious Child (with Big Anime Eyes to boot!).
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: In "The Why-Shaped Cut," Polly Alloy dresses as Sailor Moon.
  • Dashing Hispanic: Ray, a well-dressed ex-matador ladykiller who could be the hero of a telenovela if he wasn't a ruthless, brutally-efficient killer.
  • Determinator: If the duo accepts a contract on your life, that's it. You're dead. And no amount of cybernetically-enhanced henchmen, gun-laden killer robots, or state-of-the-art security systems will save you from them.
  • Disposing of a Body:
    • Kal discovers, much to his chagrin, that his first solo contract requires him to clean up the scene of the hit and get rid of the bodies of both the target and his minders.
      Finnegan Sinister: Of course ye'll need a shovel, so ye will.
    • A one shot story has Ray and Finny dump the corpse of their latest hit onto a massive pile of corpses off a quiet offramp of the highway. They note that they need to look for a spot for dumping bodies.
  • Executive Meddling: Parodied in universe in one strip that is essentially a parody trailer for a Sinister Dexter movie. The movie appears to cast vactors (virtual actors) as the main characters. Finny and Ray are disgusted to find that Bruce Willis has been cast as Sinister and Eddie Murphy has been cast as Dexter (Each even using lines from Die Hard and Beverly Hills Cop as Pre Ass Kicking One Liners). While Finny expresses some joy at Scarlett Johansson being cast as Demi Octavo, they both walk out of the theatre once the trailer is over, expressing disgust at having sold the movie rights to their own life stories.
  • Expy: From his design to his position as the city's most powerful crime lord, it's easy to see "Holy" Moses Tanenbaum as one for The Kingpin.
  • Fighting Irish: Sinister is an Irish, redheaded Professional Killer with a penchant for a drink order known as a Piston Broke and a Hand Cannon as a preferred firearm.
  • Glasgow Grin: Tom Carney's version of Sinister is drawn with one of these.
  • Guns Akimbo: Dexter's pair of Rugers. After the events of Malone, when Finny returns to Downlode and thinks that Dexter is dead, he briefly takes up the same type of pistols in tribute.
  • Hand Cannon: Finny's minigun, which is a misnomer. It resembles a shotgun (Depending on the Artist) but is just a really huge handgun.
  • Hidden Depths: Finny is a poet in his spare time. He's even been published.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Finny and Ray may be the best Professional Killers in the 'Lode, but they're always willing to do favours for friends. If It's Personal with them, be prepared to be whacked badly. This happens quite often.
  • Inspector Javert: Tracy Weld, the new transfer to Downlode PD, starts off as this, determined to bring Ray and Finny in for their many murders. It isn't until much later that she sees the point of view of her partner, Rocky Rhodes, and realizes that they're not as bad as she thinks (and certainly not as bad as most of the targets they whack). This ultimately leads her into starting a relationship with Ray.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Ray, whose hand-to-hand skills are legendary due to his incredible speed, which he honed as a youth learning to fight 10-foot-tall genetically-engineered bulls.
  • Meaningful Name: In Latin the words sinister and dexter mean "on the left side" and "on the right side", respectively.
  • Mega City: Downlode. It's not quite clear how big the city is, but it certainly seems to sprawl from parts of Spain all the way into Eastern Europe. For a while the series' blurb at the front of the comic described Downlode as "sprawling across Central Europe like a hit and run victim".
  • Ms. Fanservice: Demi Octavo, although the degree to which she's presented as this is, as usual, Depending on the Artist.
    • The duo have also had dealings with many beautiful women over the course of the series, most of whom are presented this way.
  • Offhand Backhand: When fighting off Reminders in "Job Jobbed", Ray takes out one of them by firing behind him with his off hand. His Headcase likely allows this to be done with ease, thanks to its electronic targeting capabilities.
  • Pretty in Mink: Carmen Hosanna wears a long, white fur coat.
  • Professional Killer: Downlode has such a large criminal element that hitmen have several different categories:
    • Gun Sharks, like Finny and Ray, are the most sought after and respected of hitmen with the skills and experience to match.
    • Bullet Monkeys are more generic Mook types, hired in numbers to Zerg Rush a target.
    • Reminders are a special case, being hired by someone who knows they'll wind up on the wrong end of a hit to avenge their own deaths.
  • Punny Name: Almost everybody. Not just people, the entire world seems to run off of this. An example in one episode was an Italian restaurant with an American Civil War theme called Spaggestisburg. This gets lampshaded, as one character doesn't get the connection between Italian food and The American Civil War.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Fiery Sinister is definitely the red to the more level-headed blue Dexter.
  • Scoundrel Code: Both played straight and averted over the course of the series. Finny and Ray (as well as many other gunsharks) have a pretty rigid code that defines how they operate: they don't kill innocents (unless attacked) or cops, they don't get in the way of others' contracts, and they honor their agreements, regardless of who they make them with. Of course, that doesn't mean that everyone in Downlode is quite so honorable, leading to more than one occasion where the duo has had to deal with someone willing to break the rules.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Ray, as mentioned above. Especially contrasted to Finny, who's often dressed in more garish or over-the-top ensembles.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Used on the covers of progs 981, 1064 (which was also used as the cover for the first collection), 1134, 1153, 1346 and 1665, as well as issue 2 of their IDW series.
  • Shout-Out: Artist Simon Davis was quite fond of doing this with his covers, referencing the posters for The Usual Suspects (prog 1030), Heat (prog 1055), Scarface (1983) (prog 1105) and Charlie's Angels (prog 1319).
  • Too Dumb to Live: In Dunce Macabre, Kal reckons a man that they have just chased out into oncoming traffic is the dumbest mark that has ever had a price on his head. Finny and Ray proceed to tell him about some of the stupidest hits they ever performed, including a man who hid in a wardrobe (He was told he needed armour and thought they said "armoire"), a man who jumped out the window onto some live power cables and a man who filled in the form incorrectly, inadvertedly paying to have himself killed.
    • Given Ray and Finny's reputation as two of the greatest gunsharks who ever lived, many of the mooks they face down - especially those who recognize the duo - certainly qualify.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: The enormously-obese "Holy" Moses Tanenbaum, and his stunning Trophy Wife Demi Octavo. Seems like Demi encourages this trope, as it's revealed that she had an affair with famous vactor Max Vactor, who, without the CGI, is a nerdy, nebbish, dweeby guy that she was head over heels in love with.
  • Undying Loyalty: The titular duo will go through hell and high water for each other, although there was a period where they split following Demi's death, which thankfully didn't last too long.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Prog 1138: Demi Octavo is murdered at her wedding.
    • Prog 1139: Ray and Finny call it quits on their partnership in the aftermath of Demi's death.
    • Prog 1468: Ray is shot and seemingly killed by his lover, Tracy Weld. And, to top it off, it's revealed at the end that The Mover is a seemingly-resurrected "Holy" Moses Tanenbaum.
  • Yakuza: The Cyberpunk variant, who control Mangapore and who Finny and Ray run afoul of.