By Chris Tresson
Musicians and bands having their own comic books is nothing new in this industry. Bands having good comics, though? That's quite rare (see the latest KISS comic series. It's dog shit.) This one... I had a good feeling about this one.
I’m about to review the first issue of Slayer: Repentless, a three issue mini-series published by Dark Horse Comics. It’s a series based around the videos of thrash metal gods Slayer which were directed by BJ McDonnell, for songs from the album of the same name.
Now, I've been listening to Slayer since I was a teenager and if I’m ever writing a comic myself and I get to a scene in the story where stuff is about to get brutal, I will usually throw on some metal to get me in the mood. I usually go for a bit of Slayer, so I can totally understand how/why there’s a comic.
I remember being emailed the first bit of promotional material for this comic, it was the Eric Powell variant for issue one (which is fucking lovely) and I thought it looked absolute ace. I got pretty excited by it and now I’m finally getting to read it… Did it live up to my expectations…?
Sadly, no. It did not. I really wanted to like this one but if I’m being honest, it was pretty damn poor. Don’t get me wrong, I like the concept of the story, but the writing in this is bordering on god-awful. It’s another example of a good concept being ruined by poor execution.
I’m unfamiliar with Jon Schnepp’s previous comic writing but I am familiar with him because of his involvement in the adult cartoon Metalocalypse. I liked that show, and going into this and knowing his name from it, I thought I was going to really enjoy it. The problem I had with this issue, however, is that there isn’t that much depth in the writing of the story. It feels like an eight-page story which has been decompressed so it can be stretched to meet the page count.
The first issue didn’t really give me any clue as to what the next two issues will be bringing to the table. Of course, I know what to expect a bit as I’ve seen the videos and from what I gathered from the first issue they will follow what happens in them or at the very least feature some key visual moments from them... I get the feeling it’s going to split off from following anything in the videos and the next issue will bring something completely new to it. Maybe the writer will have more space to flex his creativity, I’m just hoping it’s an improvement over this one.
Having said that, a good point to note is that it’s fucking brutal in parts and I can appreciate/get behind that. Artist Guiu Vilanova held my interest with the artwork, which is smooth and consistent from start to finish. Really liked the art and although the writing wasn’t great, at least Slayer isn't fucking around in giant mech-suits or on Mars fighting some sort of space Satan in this... it stays realistic.
Not the best start but a start all the same. It may pick up in the next issue so I’m not going to complete dismiss it just yet. If you’re a Slayer fan then you should probably take a look at it and decide for yourself whether or not you want to collect the full series. It’s only three issues long, so it’s not a huge investment of time or money if you feel like taking a chance on something a bit different. The choice is completely up to you.
Slayer: Repentless #1
Writer: Jon Schnepp
Artist: Guiu Vilanova
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics