Aspen brings you a vision of Hell from the mind of Greg Pak.
Dead Man’s Run #0
As a base concept Dead Man’s Run shares more than a passing similarity to Logan’s Run. This is probably intentional as what we have here is the story of a man who makes sure nothing from the prison is released and by the end of the book it’s clear that said man will have to escape himself. That’s pretty much where the comparison ends as Greg Pak, with Tony Parker on art, bring you their own interpretation of hell in this issue zero.
This is obviously the prologue and Pak does an excellent job of setting up not only the main story beats, but also the characters and setting. Although the setting is a compelling one and the central premise “escape from hell” is a great hook, you can’t help but feel that the book seems a little rushed. This is probably due to the pace of the comic, which seems to be permanently at breakneck speed. Also the fact that there is only 12 pages of story exacerbates this feeling. However you can forgive the book due to the fact it’s clearly a prologue and it does cram in a lot of ideas.
Hell as a prison is not a new concept, but Pak introduces the idea that it is more of a confined city with levels. We are also introduced to at least one denizen of Hell who will have a large role in the ongoing story in the form of the General. An instantly interesting character as he seems to have carved out a power base for himself. The fact that he had prepared for his own arrival in Hell, reinforces the notion in the book that Hell is watched over by a specific few with enough security clearance. As for our main character of this issue, Captain Romero is sufficiently interesting. He is given the obligatory mysterious back story and to be honest by the end of the book you’d have guessed his fate. Sam Tinker (who is supposed to be the series main character according to interviews with Pak) is given enough time here to craft his own voice. His sister is clearly set up for bigger things and the fact he’s a cartographer, which is a fantastic idea, will be important in later issues. As he needs to navigate the multi-levelled Hell prison. We also have the appearance of a mysterious woman who seems to be looking after the prison (she’s probably the warden, but it’s not clear). She will clearly come into to play in a big way further down the line. There is a lot of potential here and by issues end you’ll want to see what happens next.
As for the art, Parker does a serviceable job on the book. It doesn’t have any real stand out moments, but at least the art crafts the world well. Hell looks exactly how it’s intended to, a run down urban area on fire, and Peter Stiegerwald’s colours manage to give the place a sense of the old “fire and brimstone” that is usually thought of when Hell is mentioned. In fact Stiergerwald seems to produce the sense that Hell maybe unbearably hot as red and yellow tones work in harmony to bring Hell to life. Parker does however frame his book well as he has opted for larger panels to give that “widescreen” sense to all the action. Action that he handles with ease as the fight with the man on fire is an artistic highlight of the book.
So here we have a solid introduction to the world and concept of the book. However it does seem to really hit the ground running and this isn’t always a good thing as although all the exposition is achieved it does come off a little rushed. It is all set up which is fine for a zero issue and it does have a lot of appeal. But it does need to take a breath and present a character the readers can get behind. But as a introductory piece it definitely does it’s job of getting readers to want to come back for issue one.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Filled with ideas and action||Feels a little rushed|
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