If you missed the concept behind Dead Man’s Run then allow me to paraphrase for you. Hell is a prison, the worst and most dangerous prison in the world and someone needs to breakout. If you missed the zero issue of the series then I highly encourage you to check out our review or pick it up as a back issue at your shop. It was one of the best zero issues I’ve ever read since it actually did something for the story rather than just act as a giant ad for the series. The first issue picks up right where the zero issue left off which was a bit surprising. Captain Romero is laying half dead on the ground buried under a crate of gold bars. His men attempt to save his life, but he calls them off knowing that it’s too late. With his final breath he tells them to send him Tinker. Sam Tinker also works at the most dangerous prison on the planet, which is not surprisingly located in California. News of Romero’s death spreads quickly and soon Sam’s sister Juniper is in town to take him away. She’s worried about his safety, but she’s the reason he works at the prison in the first place. Her gesture is kind, but ultimately in vain as their car is hit by a truck killing them both.
Sam wakes up in prison aka hell, completely confused as to why he’s there. He’s dragged to a cell kicking and screaming for his sister. Once there a ghostly woman steals his jacket because she’s cold, confused Sam yells out at here. This catches the attention of the guards and they come over and eat the soul of the woman. At this point Sam meets the others on his cell block including Morazzi who threatens his life for getting the woman (his best thief) killed. The really story kicks off when Romero and Tinker come face to face.
The story is great, it’s fast paced and intense and really keeps you turning the pages quickly. I probably read the entire thing in five minutes. Greg Pak’s writing just pushes forward and really doesn’t give you a chance to slow down and breathe, which works really well with the type of story it is. There is actually a lot of character development for Sam in the issue which was surprising due to the nature of the story, but the scenes with his sister and a later scene really give you a feel for what type of person Sam is. It does make you wonder why he’s in hell; it’s explained but the explanation more than like is just a cover to play into the story later on. That’s probably the best thing about this issue as Pak has placed hints of plot points within this first issue that are sure to come into play in future issues.
Let’s talk art! Tony Parker, Tony Parker! The art is of the highest quality and honestly I’ve come to expect no less from Aspen’s titles. The benefit of good art in this book is that does the great story the justice it deserves. Parker’s has this mixture of classic comic style with modern design. He gives each character a ton of personality with simple facial expressions that end up saying as much as the dialog. Parker’s art keeps up with Pak’s fast paced story and because of that the two elements are well-balanced.
I’m not surprised by how good this issue was since I enjoyed the zero issue so much. It has a lot going for it: plot and concept working together in harmony, great writing and fantastic art. Will Sam make it out of Hell? I have no idea, but I’m hooked on this book until I find out and that's why it's so damn good.
Writer: Greg Pak Artist: Tony Parker Publisher: Aspen Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 1/18/12