Things get a lot more personal in the third issue of Death Head. Is it good?
Death Head #3 (Dark Horse Comics)
- The dad is going CUH-RAZY…but not completely, because he knows he’s going crazy. Said ‘crazy’ is also telling him to go visit an old dude in a lighthouse. Things get predictably weird/exposition-heavy.
- The daughter continues to live up to every rebellious Catholic schoolgirl stereotype in existence–which OF COURSE means her super hot friend is totally into her. Unfortunately, some of their more pious classmates catch them in a secret stolen kiss. Things get predictably preachy (on both sides).
- The mom is trying to vaccinate the monkeys she works with, who are pissed about something (which I’m guessing has to do with the supernatural stank still wafting off of her from her earlier encounter with Death Head). Things get predictably screechy.
- The son is still seeing that dead girl. She continues to flirt with him for a bit, then grabs his hand and begins flying with him through the air.
Okay, I actually did not see that one coming.
Is It Good?
Have you ever eaten a sandwich where the bun outshines the contents between it? Oh trust, me it can happen. It’s also what reading this issue of Death Head felt like.
The opening pages are so good. The dad pretending he’s not crazy while we get to see him hallucinate, the son sneaking off with the Death Head mask…it’s such a cool setup.
Pictured: A gold mine of metaphors.
But then we spend the meat of the book plowing through two scenes that are so paint-by-numbers horror genre fare that it hurts.
1.) The mysterious/crazy old man explaining the legend of the franchise monster.
2.) An argument about religion that would make a debate between Sarah Palin and Bill Maher seem nuanced.
Then there’s some kind of cool stuff with the mom and the kid (that’s the bacon in this story sandwich) before we get smacked in the face with one creepy as hell ending that almost redeems the earlier stuff.
Also helping to keep the book from sliding into negative territory is the artwork by Joanna Estep. She’s great with facial expressions, which definitely helps humanize the otherwise forgettable (and often unlikable) characters. She also deserves some mad props for that last page, which made me physically shudder just now when I looked at it again.
And although I’m giving the Keller Brothers a hard time here, I will say that the transitions from one scene to the next have gotten quite a bit better since the first issue.
Death Head is by no means a lost cause. This issue’s opening and closing scene proves that. Nick and Zack have proven that they can create a genuinely creepy atmosphere, offer unique perspectives, and hook us into a desperate state of curiosity about what happens next. Unfortunately, those talents were relegated to the bookends of an otherwise mediocre read.