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Death’s Head: Clone Drive review

The Young Avengers are awesome. Transformers are awesome. So naturally, this book is awesome.

The Young Avengers are awesome. Transformers are awesome. A book featuring the two best Young Avengers (Wiccan and Hulkling are the best, sorry) and a Transformers villain is bound to be awesome. Throw in some interpersonal relationship drama, a few team ups, and some delightful robot emotions, and you’re bound for greatness. Tini Howard and Kei Zama are two perfect picks for this book, and the fact that it’s great was all but guaranteed before it even began.

Right off the bat, Kei Zama makes it clear that she’s the number one robot artist in town. Her work on IDW’s Optimus Prime series in 2018 was fantastic, and she’s taken that style and ramped it up even more for this mini. Death’s Head has a robot face, but he emotes so well. On top of that, the kinetic energy and momentum she’s able to bring to the table makes the book that much better to read. All the fight scenes throughout this miniseries are awesome, and consistently keep things dynamic. Zama’s ability to make characters emote also ensures that the slower scenes are just as well-crafted.

I could really go on and on about how gorgeous this book is, but there’s even more to discuss — namely how well Tini Howard writes every single character in this book. Seriously, Howard’s work is fantastic here. Both Wiccan and Hulkling are written to perfection, with dialogue and internal conflicts that feel wholly natural. Wiccan is secretive in his actions while Hulkling is secretive in his feelings — both of them full of insecurities but too scared to open up to each other. It’s really interesting to read, and the way their conflict develops and resolves feels entirely satisfying by the end of the volume. In just four issues of a series that doesn’t even have them as the title characters, Wiccan and Hulkling feel like they’ve gone through the next major step in their relationship (even if they haven’t gotten married yet, as they rightfully should).

Billy and Teddy aren’t the only characters who get some great development, as both the original Death’s Head and Death’s Head V (aka Vee) are forced to confront their own histories and legacies. I hadn’t actually read any comics with Death’s Head in them before this miniseries (okay, maybe that one Darkhawk tie-in to Infinity Wars), but by the midway point of this volume I felt like I understood who Death’s Head was as a character and what his biggest conflict was, both internally and externally. Howard uses both of these conflicts to push Death’s Head into ruthlessness, as a fear of obsolescence tends to do. Doctor Necker, as the major external conflict, drives the story in a more tangible way, and is just as compelling as the main characters’ very blatant personal fears.

This story is fantastic from the very beginning, with a ton of heart and personality and clear love for all the characters involved. The art is delightful, the writing is compelling, and there’s basically nothing negative I can say about it. I went into Death’s Head loving two of the main characters, and I came out the other side as a massive fan of all four. Both Howard and Zama have put out what may be their strongest work into this volume, and it’s honestly what I’d call a must-read.

Death's Head: Clone Drive
Is it good?
Both Howard and Zama have put out what may be their strongest work into this volume, and it's honestly what I'd call a must-read.
The art is stylistic and expressive on every page.
The writing for the characters is super compelling, making all of them really interesting.
Kei Zama's energy fills the entire book, making everything read super well.

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