With issue 1 of Death Sentence, Monty Nero and Mike Dowling introduced us to the G+ Virus, a sexually transmitted disease where the trade off for the super human abilities it grants you is a shortened life span. Six months to be precise. While most books would see this as a jumping off point to explore the effects of the powers on the entire world, Death Sentence plays it smaller, instead focusing on the main characters personal worlds. The characters are the draw of the book, and that line of thinking continues into issue 2. The story progresses organically according to these characters personalities. Only one issue may have gone by, but such is the strength of Nero’s writing that you feel you know them inside and out, feel sympathy for them almost immediately. There are books from Marvel and DC in publication for years that have characters I don’t care for half as much as Verity, Weasel, and Monty. That’s the power of good writing.
While issue one mainly focused on Verity’s already broken world being smashed to smithereens in the wake of her diagnosis, the spotlight of this second issue is firmly on Weasel, as we see the indie guitarist’s world follow suit and quite spectacularly blow up in his face. I shouldn’t feel sorry for Weasel. He’s an odious little snot, coasting by on what little talent he has, and spends his final days as if he was never diagnosed with G+, watching it evaporate in a haze of drink, drugs, and girls. But details of his life are dropped, painting such a tragic picture, that you can’t help put feel sorry for him. Even though he is the architect of his own destruction. His story takes a turn here, one I wasn’t quite expecting, capitalizing on seeds planted in the first issue. Going down this route this early has me interested in where else his story can go.
Verity isn’t entirely left out in the cold, the events of the first issue sending her on the run. We are given more of an insight into her life, the mystery of why she is so alone slowly revealing itself. And again, Nero surprises me, with a plot point I never saw coming. The first issue ended with a reveal that had my mind up what direction the story would take. But then he throws a spanner in the works, promising interesting ramifications for all the characters. Unless he swerves again. i wouldn’t put it past him. Rounding out the trinity, Monty continues to be an enigma. As I said before, I feel we’ve only scratched the surface of this character, and his appearance here backs that up. It is only fleeting, we get a greater insight into his character, and it plants seeds for what the next four issues have in store for us.
Mike Dowling’s art continues to be a great compliment to Nero’s writing, the gritty style and tone jumping off the page. I can’t imagine anyone else who would work as well, and some of the images he conjures up here we will stay with you long after you close the book.
After two issues, I am completely hooked on this book. It drew me in with it’s fantastic concept, the story and the characters convincing me to stay. If you are looking for something original form your comics, Death Sentence is the way to go.
Death Sentence #2 is released from Titan Comics on November 13th. Issue 1 is out October 9th, and is currently available to order from this months issue of PREVIEWS
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