Sunday, October 29, 2006

Review: Deathblow #1 Exceeds Expectations

Deathblow 1
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
As a longtime reader of Wildstorm books, it perplexes me a bit to admit that I never read Deathblow prior to the relaunch of the “Worldstorm” series. Ten years ago I was a lot more interested in the razzle dazzle of Gen 13 and Wildcats and the eye-popping art and romantic entanglements found within then the war and violence driven stories of Team 7 and Deathblow. My, how times have changed.

When I found out that Brian Azzarello, the brilliant mind behind 100 Bullets was on board for the new Deathblow series, it was a no-brainer to jump on board. Teamed with artist Carlos D’Anda, there is an immediate sense of danger about the book that marks it as Azzarello’s.

Starting out page one with a mysterious torturing and reaching out to the next sequence which reveals General Ruckus and Ivana, the head of I-O from back in the day. This can’t be a good sign for Deathblow. Next come the military on a top secret rescue mission- the only problem is the person they are looking for isn’t the series’ namesake. Interesting, but it doesn’t bode well, when the military decides that they have to bring someone, anyone back.

I really like the tone of the first issue. Fast paced and raw, the dialogue and art mesh well. D’Anda has moved away from a Jim Lee doppelganger to a more unique, grittier style more reminiscent of Bill Sienkiewicz. I prefer this newer tone, and think it works well with the theme and direction of the book. The colorist Carrie Strachan does an admirable job of covering the art with a fitting, contrasting dark tone. It all works very well to relay the content of the story being told.

My only problem with the series so far- I have no clue about Deathblow’s origins or continuity. So far, I don’t know if that is going to be a problem, but it does make me feel like I am at a disadvantage. I don’t know what makes this Michael Cray so dangerous, or why he ended up where he is, but I am hoping the story that unfolds will reveal that information to me.

Of all the “Worldstorm” books I have read, I feel that Deathblow is the strongest so far. The Midnighter is the only book I haven’t read, so that is the wildcard, but I really liked the synchronicity of the creative team here. This is a series I will continue to order and pick up. If Azzarello and D’Anda continue to deliver, consider me on board for the duration.

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