Written by: Montynero. Art by: Mike Dowling. Published by: Titan Comics.
Written by newcomer Montynero and art by Mike Dowling, Death Sentence is a dark series with a science fiction twist. This series is rooted by the high concept idea of the G+ virus and the consequences of those who are infected by it. Although, this is no normal virus, this sexually transmitted virus gives those infected superpowers but also only six months to live. With this concept, Montynero and Mike Dowling shows the path of three infected individuals and how they deal with this through sex, drugs and violence.
As mentioned previously, Death Sentence follows three people who have been infected with the virus. First there is Verity, an artist whose soul has been crushed by the lack of purpose in her life. While she is a smart and creative girl, she has had a troubled life that has stopped her from achieving what she wants. Secondly there is Weasel, a washed-up rockstar that struggles to create music of any substance. He is more concerned about the empty lifestyle of sex, drugs and fame. Finally there is Monty, a crude stand-up comedian who seems to be modeled off Russel Brand. He is the antagonist in the series and definitely the most powerful. Throughout Death Sentence the reader sees these characters develop as they comes to terms with their short life. For some this will be positive as they find purpose in their life, find responsibility or descend into madness with horrible consequences.
Ultimately, Death Sentence is a series about emotionally damaged people and how they attempt to cope with their issues. Meaningless sex, drug abuse and violence are all used as coping mechanisms with Montynero successfully translating these into science fiction ideas.
Mike Dowling’s art is gritty and dark which reflects the tone of the narrative perfectly. His heavy inks mixed with his muted colour palette reflect a world full of issues and troubled people. His character designs are unique and interesting with characters that are able to stand out. The drug elements of the narrative bring some surreal moments, which is something Dowling excels at. They are powerful and frightening, which helps the reader feel what the characters are experiencing.
The only criticism I would have is that I feel like the character of Verity needed to be fleshed out a bit more towards the start. While the reader does discover her back story and her damaged emotional state, I feel that she was the hardest to feel emphatic towards at the start.
Death Sentence comes with a whole stack of extra content. Along with a cover gallery there is an in-depth commentary by both creators on the whole series. This is quite interesting and is something that is not regularly included in trade paperback releases. If you enjoy reading about the creative decisions then you will enjoy this. Death Sentence is definitely for mature readers only. It contains a lot of sex, substance abuse and graphic violence which might not appeal to everyone.
Overall, Death Sentence is a fantastic read, with the concept of the G+ virus being a strong foundation. Montynero has crafted a narrative that is dark with fully fleshed characters, which with intreeging emotional issues. Coupled with Dowling’s gritty art, Death sentence is a surprising series with plenty of shocks and large scale. Although, the most surprising thing about this release is that both Montynero and Dowling have come from obscurity to produce a work that ranks up there with greats such as Alan Moore and Warren Ellis. If you are someone who enjoyed Watchmen or Alan Moore’s Miracleman run then you will enjoy Death Sentence.
Will you be reading Death Sentence TPB?
— How to Love Comics (@HowtoLoveComics) July 8, 2014