Review: 12 Reasons to Die #1 (of 6)

I really had no idea what to expect from this series jumping into it. All I knew was that Rza and GhostFace were involved and that’s pretty much all I needed (Wu Tang is Forever!). Black Mask Studios are a new publisher and they’re looking to create a brand that different from ordinary publishers. 12 Reasons to Die is the first series to be released so let’s dive in and see how GhostFace’s first romp in comics turned out. There are actually two stories in this issue and I’m not quite sure if they’re connected just yet, but they very well could be. The first story is very slow to start, to the point that you kind of begin not to care. Thankfully the pacing keeps the story from getting to stale and pushes right along. It’s about twelve men rising to power as the crime bosses. It shows their rise and then them living high on the hog, so much so that they don’t see a new competitor gunning for them. SPOILER, its GhostFace, but his character’s name is Anthony Starks (fucking awesome that he’s keeping with the Iron Man nod). Not only is it a kick ass introduction to the character, but it’s just after an intense and bloody fight scene. Unfortunately, the biggest story aspects happen right at the end so I don’t want to spoil the entire story segment.

The second story is a bit strange, but was incredibly good. It starts with a man driving a sports car while doing some heavy drinking, when a song comes on the radio that’s dedicated to him. He freaks out and takes his eyes off the road and ends up hitting a sheep. He gets out piss-drunk and takes out his anger of his wrecked car on the sheep. There’s one sheep that doesn’t clear out when he begins firing into the air though. He walks over to the black sheep and holds his gun to its head, like the fucking sheep is giving him shit, but before he can pull the trigger he’s attacked by other animals. From there the story follows the song/album that was played on the radio and is full of other twists and turns.

12 Reasons to Die #1-1The first story was okay, but it definitely could have cut out a lot of the content at the beginning as it didn’t make the pay off at the end any better. It came across as stretched out so that the reveal could be on the last page. I still enjoyed it because of the reveal, but it wasn’t the strongest opening that’s for sure. The second story is what really caught my attention. The cursed vinyl’s is a very cool concept and I’m extremely interested in seeing how it all plays out. I really enjoyed the way the two different halves of the second story tied together and made each other complete.

The art is good throughout the entire book, even with four different artists working on it. The two best were definitely Gus Storms’ and Joe Infurnari’s section, but the other two illustrators do a good job as well. It’s all really brought together by the coloring which gives the art a consistent tone and feel and all the credit goes to Jean-Paul Csuka for that.

Considering how many people were involved in the story or script, I’m actually impressed with how this issue turned out. Will that become a problem in the future? Possibly, but for now it’s working. I was definitely eager to check this series out and I’m glad that I did. I was also glad to discover that this wasn’t twenty plus pages of GhostFace’s ego being stroked (though it was a little), and an actual quality story was being told. If Black Mask’s other titles turn out half as good, we’re in for some great comics to come. In the meantime, 12 Reasons to Die is off to a great start.

Score: 4/5

Created by: GhostFace Killah and Adrian Younge Story by: Adrian Younge, Ce Garcia and Matthew Rosenberg Writers: Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon Artists: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Kyle Strahm and Joe Infurnari Colorist: Jean-Paul Csuka Publisher: Black Mask Studios Price: $3.50 Release Date: 5/8/13 Website