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Dead Man’s Run #4 [Aspen Comics] Review

Posted on April 9, 2013 AT 08:35pm

This has been a long time coming. After a delay in the printing of issues three and four of the Aspen Comics series Dead Man’s Run, the journey of Sam Tinker has resumed, and it has come back with a vengeance. The team of Sam and some of the more corrupt souls of the underworld have made their way down to the lowest levels of Hell in an attempt to rescue Sam’s sister, Juniper, and return to the surface. However, whether or not Sam can get to her and if those accompanying him will actually allow him to escape with an innocent soul is anyone’s guess.

Sam Tinker’s skills as a cartographer are in full view once again in the series, as are his skills in navigating the deepest, darkest levels of Hell with little trouble, which seem to make things quite a bit easier for himself and his team. While the varied cast of Hell-stricken souls aren’t the most trustworthy, the assembled team is incredibly enthralling, and many of the characters seem to be better people than led on in the beginning. This story was a highly rated one before its hiatus, and after reading this issue, there’s an obvious reason why.

Greg Pak, how the world has missed you on this series. After four issues, this series looks like it may be hitting its downward swing as far as plot is concerned, but the skilled writing of Pak is in no danger of waning. The long hiatus has seemed to throw off Pak’s timing, however. At several points the plot felt as though it should have been ended for the issue, only to see it continue in development for a few more pages. This slowed plot progression is uncommon, as many more feel rushed as opposed to slowed, but this one drags a bit near the end. That concern aside, this is a very interesting story that has all the right elements added to it as far as its premise is concerned: action, interesting characters, a strong lead and a clear idea of where it’s headed with a handle on the concepts presented. Pak is still showing that he can do the job with the series, despite the break.

Artist Tony Parker and colorist Wes Hartman also prove their worth in this triumphant return. Parker’s illustration skills are well known and rising quickly, and this time is no exception. His work is smooth, detailed, and works wells within the framework of the style that the company employs, all while still keeping some individuality. Unfortunately, keeping with the company standard also means a lack of detail in the backgrounds of the panels, an unfortunate circumstance for a book that deals with the levels of Hell. So many interesting concepts could be explored in the backgrounds of these pages, making it sad that so little was actually executed. However, the detail work seems especially well done in this issue, with it looking much more frequent than in issues past, something that made the book much more enjoyable from an aesthetic view than in previous installments. Wes Hartman did an excellent job this issue; the artwork really stands out due to the coloring. While the art style of Parker was great, Hartman really knocked it home with some vibrant color work.

Summary: It’s good to have you back, Dead Man’s Run. With striking visuals, and interesting story, and plenty to notice as the team moves through the deeper levels of Hell, this series is returning with a hit, making sure to really stand out from the other titles that could boast similar plots and styles. The story of Sam Tinker and his rescue mission may be taking a bit longer than expected, but it’s good to see everyone back, especially the creative team who seem particularly focused this issue.

The Good: Great Writing, Strong Artwork, Exciting Characters

The Bad: Wait Between Issues Hurts Continuity, Lack Of Artwork In Backgrounds, Slow Plot Progression

Grade: B-

Russ Pirozek, known as "Noobcrawler" to some, is a gamer and comic book fan who sometimes gets around to writing for He's also awesome. If someone looked up "awesome" in the dictionary, his picture wouldn't be there, but that's because he's too busy being awesome to pose for a photo.

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