With an opening sequence that is about as creepy as they come, we get a glimpse of who is responsible for the death of an entire town. This is just one of several similar events happening across the country and has brought the attention of the global agency, GATE. Prompting them to order Unity to find and retrieve their teammate, Gilad. He’s currently on the run with Tama, who is being blamed for all of the bodies piling up across the country. But Gilad is sworn to ptotect the Geomancer and right now she is the only one who can read the book and what is revealed in those pages does not bode well for what is to come.
There’s a lot to like about Book of Death though it seems like it’s catered towards readers more familiar with the Valiant heroes. That’s not to say that you need to have a deep knowledge about the characters to enjoy this issue, but the interactions between several of them won’t be as meaningful. However, there is a nifty little roll call that shines some light on who you’ll meet in this issue for any newcomers. Venditti also does an excellent job of setting up this event. He wastes no time in getting things underway and I can’t help but reference the opening again. It’s one of the best parts of the story that has the great pacing beats of a horror film. He also continues to bring the best out of Unity’s unbalanced team chemistry when they finally confront Gilad. It’s another tense moment between the members that touches on the conflict of Gilad’s duties protecting the Geomancer and what his role is as a member of Unity.
The artwork is pretty solid throughout as Gill and Braithwaite are the main reason the opening scene works so well. Syncing up perfectly with the narrative and then with the double page reveal just puts the exclamation point on it all! The rest of the issue has some great visual moments like the scorpion forcing it’s way into Gilad’s mouth to the house being overrun with a legion insects. The colors of David Baron and Brian Reber heighten the feel of the art in the panels and that last page looks great and gets you ready for the next issue!
Book of Death looks like it’s not only going to be huge but another step in the right direction for Valiant’s ever impressive universe. The creative team is off to a good start here so we can only hope the next three issues will be even better. So give Book of Death a try if you’re looking for another good comic to pick up because Valiant is one of the few companies putting out consistently solid titles without having to know decades of history to enjoy.