Dead Man’s Run #0
Publisher: Aspen Comics MLT
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Tony Parker
Covers: Tony Parker and Peter Steigerwald (Covers A and C), Micah Gunnell and Peter Steigerwald (Cover B)
“Full Circle“: They say war is hell, but in the case of Dead Man’s Run, war really is in hell. Top tech soldiers are sent to hell (voluntarily) to combat those who dwell in it. Though high concepts or even interesting concepts are a dime a dozen in the comic book world, the idea for this one grabbed my attention.
As you might imagine from the concept, this is very much testosterone driven. The bald headed protagonist (at least for now), big guns, and bulky armor tell you that this is going to be one action packed adventure.
Fortunately, it’s not a stupid action packed adventure. From what I can tell so far, it looks like there will be a story with a few interesting twists. No, it’s not Alan Moore deep, but who cares? It’s a fun issue that has the action without being dumbed down.
Greg Pak is responsible for adding the brains to the story. Not just the plot, which is well written and gives us a good breakdown of it all, but also the dialog. Exposition, especially with the first issue, can be very tough. But Pak handles it well, letting the battle plan scenes show us who the characters are.
As with any other Aspen comic, the artwork here is fantastic. Tony Parker kicks ass here. Every panel is different, and there’s a few action panels with lots and lots of flames. This might be hell for some artists to get through, but Parker does it with grace and ease. If you enjoy other Aspen artwork such as Fathom or Soulfire, then you should have no problem enjoying this one. The same also goes for the colorist, who keeps those flames burning brightly. And let’s not forget letterer Josh Reed, who (like other Aspen colleagues) shows that you can have unique lettering without it getting in the way of the reading.
Out of all of the Aspen comics, I think this might turn out to be my favorite. There’s no sexy women (actually, perhaps one) or superpowers for this comic series to hide behind. Dead Man’s Run gives an entertaining story instead, without having to have the artwork be an excuse to buy this. I’m not sure where the team will take this series (it ends on a cliffhanger), but I’m sure whatever the direction is, it’s going to be one hell of a ride.