Multiple characters, a non-linear story, creepy masks… it’s not True Detective; it’s Dark Horse Comics’ Death Head. Is it good?
Death Head #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Plot 1: Young couple goes camping in the woods. Young couple finds creepy abandoned town. Young couple forgets every horror movie they’ve ever seen and starts exploring. Lots of moths show up. Things get toasty.
Plot 2: Flash forward (?). Daughter of the married couple. Troubled kid. Kid attends a religious school. Kid has sexual urges she’s been told by the church are wrong. Kid rebels against the church. Drugs make you see weird things, man.
Plot 3: Flash forward (Pretty sure that’s what we’re doing based on this interview with the creative team). Young son of the married couple. Sweet kid. Kid gets bullied. Kid gets told about a scary ghost legend. Kid gets lost near place with scary ghost legend. Ghost legend turns out to be not so scary…OR IS IT?!
Is It Good?
If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be competent. I know that’s not the most ringing endorsement, but allow me explain.
For starters, the artwork by Joanna Estep and colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick are very good. The three stories by the writing team of Zack and Nick Keller are also good, but not great. They handle dialogue and atmosphere exceptionally well. But the narrative threads are all based on painfully stock and standard horror genre setups. It’s well executed by the creative team, but nothing any horror fan hasn’t seen before, either. By the end of the issue, we haven’t spent enough time with any of the plots to make Death Head look like something new or different.
Was she trying to churn butter just now?
The only real ‘deficiency’ from a pure story standpoint are the transitions. It’s not really clear how the plotlines connect to each other and they jump around in a way can be pretty jarring.
Otherwise, this was a perfectly fine horror comic. Could it end up being great? Absolutely, especially with such a talented and capable group of folks making it. I may not have been floored by the first issue, but it was still plenty good enough to make me want to see what happens next month.