Posted on October 9, 2013 AT 05:30pm
Living with a sexually transmitted disease is something that many members of the world deal with on a daily basis. There are several side effects, most of which aren’t very fun. That being said, the brand new Titan Comics series Death Sentence puts a brand new spin on things, with the very new and very dangerous G+ virus transmitting all throughout the world, causing not only a very shortened life span (six months is the maximum) but a brand new take, potentially positive aspect to having a disease: Superpowers. Getting a chance to do some good in the world before taking an exit might not be the worst way to go, but judging by the ways that protagonists Verity Fette, Dainel Waissel and the mysterious Monty are being treated, that’s likely not the case.
The introductory issue into the world of Death Sentence is one that shows it’s European roots, with the story beginning inside the London borough of Camden. This is a place where the G+ virus is a part of the lexicon, with several notable members of this community living with the virus. This is further complicated by the short lifespan, the instability of the abilities that manifest and the fact that both Fette and Waissel have ratings of the virus that are off the charts in terms of power. This, combined with a government that is looking to not only prevent the spread of the virus but to contain those with the virus who could present a danger to themselves or others, makes for an interesting story with no limit to the insanity that could be presented by the creative team.
Speaking of the creative team, writer Monty Nero and artist Mike Dowling have made a beautiful nightmare out of this book. Dowling’s art is gorgeous, showing off the squalor and problems of Camden in a world where superpowers not only exist, but kill their bearers within half a year. While definitely edging on the side of graphic (not that it’s an issue within the book itself), the artwork is colorful, brilliant, and an absolute disaster, in the most complimentary way possible.
Monty Nero is either a genius or someone in need of some mental health support after developing this brilliant concept with Dowling. The idea of using sexually transmitted diseases to spread superpowers through the world is inventive, intense and insane, but done well in the opener. The first issue shows off its ability to be both engaging, edgy and fun, giving to it a flair of both goofball sensibility and gritty realism in the face of what looks to be near poverty. There are some issues with character development in the first issue, but not the lack of personality of the characters, but literally who they are. Aside from Verity Fette, it’s difficult to ascertain who is rally who in this story, with most of the characters not being referenced by name for most of the issue. This is easily an issue that will work itself out soon, so it won’t be a major detriment to the series as a whole.
Summary: As a series, this is breaking new ground as an original and unique take on the way that powers work. With great artwork and a fun story, this is going to a series to watch in the future as it makes its way through the hearts, minds and possibly nightmares of the world of comic book readers.
Pros: Strong artwork, engaging and inventive story.
Cons: Presentation makes character identification difficult.
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