DEATH SENTENCE 1 REVIEW – The Flare Before the Dark

Death Sentence CoverDEATH SENTENCE 1 (Coming on October)
Writer: Monty Nero
Artist: Mike Dowling
Publisher: Titan Comics
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool news)

1986, a 7th grade Optimous Douche awaits his parents picking him up from school to start a week long suspension. The infraction was the insensitivity of youth answering the simple question, “What does AIDS stand for?” In the days before MEMES, the conjuring of creative quips like Anally Injected Death Sentence were heralded in the locker room and to utter them out loud was a right of kings. However the King quickly became a jester when my parents introduced to me a real live person suffering from AIDS.

DEATH SENTENCE brought this way back moment surging forward as I traversed the lives of 3 very different individuals all carrying the G-Plus virus (not to be confused with Google + social media plague). It’s a virus that kills with the same expedience and ferocity of AIDS in the early 80s and is sexually or needle induced, but takes the comic book twist of imbuing the infected with fantastic powers as they stare down the jagged precipice of certain death. For six months, the time from infection to the final shuffling loose of the mortal coil, the infected can do anything from take flight, become irresistible to the opposite sex or quite simply char anything and everything within a 20 foot radius.

DEATH SENTENCE carefully balances the line between revelry and remorse with three very different viewpoints on the final countdown.  One character is just a scared twenty something, whose powers don’t manifest until the end of the issue. Her battle throughout this issue is to say goodbye to the confines of life like work while seeking some form of solace for the end. Miss Fett’s story is worthy simply for the way she tells off here misogynistic boss, her emotional struggles are the icing on the cake.

Death Sentence3Another character is a down and out musician. Here Nero not only indicts death, but also the current commercialization of music. When this drug and angst fueled rocker contracts G-Plus the record label hopes beyond hope his powers are music based. A hilarious shit-storm music session coupled with an impromptu flight out of a window however prove we can’t choose the way any of us die or what our final legacy will be.

The final character is a strange one; an artist who I believe has been G-Plused with the ability to bed any woman of his choosing. There’s a great scene with a nun and a crucifix that every reformed catholic will revel in with delight.

How these three characters collide or if they collide remain open issues at the end. We know Miss. Fett will be a strong focal point of issue 2 though as her power wipes out a room of people and subsequently awakens the sleeping giant of a covert agency to handle the problem at the close of issue 1. As for how our scum bag celebrities fair is anyone’s guess.

Dowling is the perfect stylist for this book. He gives the world a muted pallor with harsh lines very akin to the work Gaydos offered in the book ALIAS. There’s a lot of ugliness in DEATH SENTENCE, and Dowling heightens this desperation of the soul with every single panel POV.

TITAN has exploded this year as a true idea house, giving old Image a real run for its money. Between books like DEATH SENTENCE and NUMBERCRUNCHER they are showing a commitment to the infinite possibilities provided by comics along with an unwavering commitment to true hutzpah in tonality and delivery.

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