All of us, at one time in our lives, have hypothetically entertained what is commonly known as the “Six Months” scenario. A scenario in which we imagine a doctor calling us into their office and giving us the ominous results of a blood test or a routine examination. Results which lead to a diagnosis of an incurable and fatal disease… A disease which gives us six months to live. And when the initial shock of that news passes and its bleak reality sets in, we ask ourselves the inevitable question: “What do we do with the remaining time we are given”? Do we start making up a “bucket list” that includes things we’d like to achieve before we die…like sex with a 6′ 2″ female Swedish contortionist/ aerialist? Or…do we accept our fate, skip the Swedish sex circus and “go gently into that good night”, lying in bed, in the company of our loved ones? However, what if fate has given you a chance to be decidedly more altruistic in meeting your end?
That is the option given to the three main characters in the new six issue comic mini-series, Death Sentence ( by writer Monty Nero and artist Mike Dowling ). In the book, rock star guitarist Weasel, graphic designer Verity and media personality Monty contract a sexually transmitted virus known as G-Plus. This virus differs from other STDs by enhancing the victims before killing them and imbuing them with extraordinary abilities. The three characters differ in their reactions to the dim prognosis, some more positively than others. All the while, government agents are maneuvering around them to take advantage of their special abilities once they reach their full potential.
Although this book has drawn praises from esteemed writer Mark Millar ( Kick-Ass ) and artist Leinil Francis Yu ( Superior ) with both citing its originality……I just don’t agree with them. This is not the first idea centering around individuals who suddenly find themselves acquiring extraordinary abilities. Artist Bryan Hitch and writer Jonathan Ross have almost wrapped up their seven issue series America’s Got Superpowers. And the subplot of the government’s involvement mirrors the now cancelled T.V. show Heroes. Plus, none of the three characters really stand out as particularly interesting. The story revolving around a virus could have used more characters and with different backgrounds and ethnicities ( which is one of the things Heroes actually got right ). Sure the added component of the characters dying from the very thing that makes them powerful is an interesting dilemma, but I feel that Nero doesn’t take full and more inspired advantage of it.
This book actually brought up memories of a 1995 film called The Immortals, starring Chris Rock, Joe Pantoliano, and Eric Roberts. In the film, a nightclub owner ( Roberts ) brings together a crew of thieves to knock off the local mob boss and make off with his cash in a series of crosstown robberies. What makes these individuals perfect for this seemingly suicidal mission is that they are already dead…considering they all have illnesses that make them terminal and they have nothing to live for but this last score. I would like to have seen this storyline exhibit some of the same “out of the box” thinking behind its own execution but, unfortunately, this first issue comes up short. Although the artwork by Mike Dowling is more than competent, I just don’t know where this title will take the reader…if anywhere.
Death Sentence #1
Writer(s): Monty Nero
Artist Name(s): Mike Dowling
Cover Artist(s): Mike Dowling
Number of Issues/Volumes in Series: 6
Page Count: 32pp
Retail Price: $3.99
Street Date: October 9, 2013
Diamond PREVIEWS Order code: JUN131282