I wish I had gotten to read the first issue of Death Force, but I have a feeling that I’m actually okay starting with this issue. This is the issue in which all the “Death Forcing” happens and the recap on the back of the front cover caught me up quickly. Rather than my new synopsis thing, I’m going to describe what the book reminds me of, because it is heavily influenced by other comics. It’s a part Punisher, it’s a part Spawn and it’s a little X as well. Even if you didn’t know that and read the book you would still see it all over the pages.
It’s Punisher in that our main character is hitting a crime organization, Spawn because he’s working for hell to get revenge for himself, and X because of the way the city is set up and our supporting female character looking to crack it all open.
The story isn’t bad actually. There’s some generic scenes between all the corrupt people running and ruining the city that was just exposition to let you know there were bad guys. The hell-scape was okay, but the narration was trying really hard to describe hell differently than any comic before. This was met with varying success. The dialogue was just okay, but definitely some of the best I’ve read from Joe Brusha.
What sold me on it was the art and the design. I was disappointed to see that the mask was actually a mask and not the result of the dude’s face being rebuilt in hell. That would have been way cooler, but it works the way it is. The action was easy to follow, but they gave too many panels/pages to the reporter running away and not enough to Death Force beating the shit out of people in his riot gear. That and it’s actually cool to see that this now former cop wasn’t given magical skills, but instead is relying on what he knows to beat the bad guys. I don’t understand why the female reporter is wearing a midriff and artist Marc Rosete seemed to struggle with its inclusion at parts. The hell-scape was actually pretty good and I enjoyed seeing DF’s skin meet and him walk around like a skeleton. It was very metal.
The main thing I appreciate about this book is that it steps away from the norm of Zenescope. I don’t know if Brusha would have written, yet alone published, something like this five years ago and so it’s nice to see them take some chances. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely one of the better books from the publisher. That and it’s fun. Sometimes fun wins over everything else.
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