Consider a disease that kills you in 6 months no matter what. There is no cure.
Now consider that same disease also gives you superpowers. What sort of (mis)adventures might these terminally ill superhumans get into? Death Sentence: is it good?
Death Sentence Collection (Titan Comics)
Writer Monty Nero opens the book explaining that the inspiration behind the story was that his wife was pregnant and he feared his life as he knew it would be over. (Well, at least she knows he’ll be a good father.) It’s an important distinction because the story isn’t so much a disease story as a story about what we might do if we knew the end was near. (Pumped up with superpowers of course). The premise is killer (pun not intended) and the characters aren’t bad either.
Our hero…wait what?!
The story focuses on three characters stricken with the disease: a failing rock star named Danny, a graphic designer named Verity, and a comedian named David. Each of them are extreme cases of the G+ virus as their powers are far more potent than anyone else’s.
David can control people and slowly gains godlike power as the series transpires, Danny can phase through objects and Verity can transform into liquids and flammable substances. The story slowly uncovers the characters and follows them as they use their powers for good or for ill.
This book has a lot of flavors; it touches on the rock star persona, the fear of losing control or the carnal ambition of the bad guy who does whatever he likes simply because he can. Namely it’s an interesting take on the human condition and it’s safe to say Nero nails each character. It’s clear pop culture is important to Nero, because you can see signs of rock stars and comedians throughout the book. There are moments where you might be reminded of other entities, The Authority for instance, but for the most part Death Sentence feels very fresh and pertinent for the times. Considering how our culture has become more and more about vice and feeling good all the time you’ll find yourself nodding your head to some of the actions of these characters.
As far as the plot is concerned it does get a bit too big for its britches as the book goes on. It wants to be this deep character study, but when the villain is shagging the Queen and the entire world is falling into pieces it’s hard not to see this as a big summer blockbuster or something you might see from the Big Two. That said, if the goal was to show very human characters become superheroes than Nero has succeeded.
The art is spot on, paced well and highly detailed. Mike Dowling has outdone himself here. There is so much detail to everything I was reminded of The Invisibles or something similar that is stuffed to the gills with deliberate detail and hidden gems in the background. Watchmen also comes to mind. This not only creates a very detailed and interesting world to look at, but also makes looking at the page almost like a scavenger hunt. I’d liken his work to Gabriel Bá but steeped much more in reality.
Looks so easy.
Is It Good?
This book has more sex, drugs and attitude than nearly any book you’ll find on the shelves today. It never feels like it’s being gratuitous to get attention either. That makes this a fun joint that is certainly worth your dime.