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GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: FTN reviews Death Sentence

June 12th, 2014 by Dave Bowling Comments

Writer: Monty Nero
Artist: Mike Dowling
192pp – HC
FC – $22.99

You know how it is. You wake up one morning, feel pretty good. Stuff is going well. Then life reaches out, shakes you firmly by the throat and plans a size 12 boot in your balls. You go to pick up your test results from the doctor, and he tells you that you’ve caught a terminal illness.

This is the not-exactly upbeat start to Monty Nero and Mike Dowling’s graphic novel, Death Sentence. It follows three people in modern London: struggling artist Verity, drug-addled guitarist Weasel and Russell Brand-esque comedian Monty. All three have been diagnosed with an aggressive strain of a new STD known as the G+ virus, a disease that will kill within six months but only after rewiring the patient’s body to give them superhuman abilities and hugely increased mental processes.

So with half a year of incredible creativity and superpowers, what would you do?

Unfortunately, there’s always one nihilist who sees no point in life beyond their own gratification and giving such a person superpowers is always a bad idea. As Michael Caine once said, “some men just want to watch the world burn”. So, with no other option, society is forced to turn to the G+ infected to help.

Dowling’s artwork is spot-on, portraying the events with a visceral glee as the superhumans spiral out of control and into inevitable bloodshed. I particularly love his treatment of some of the Establishment’s most prominent figures meeting particularly gruesome ends, but that’s just the inner union shop steward in me talking. Nero’s script moves at a lightning pace, with events quickly snowballing towards an inevitable conclusion.

If I can find a fault with this book, it’s with Weasel. He’s just too much of a stereotypically selfish idiotic musician convinced that his own mediocre talent is greater than Hendrix, which makes his story seem rushed and less believable. But the book is a great story with an original premise and I find myself hoping for a follow-up. Preferably soon.

4 out of 5 nerds


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Dave was born at an early age to parents of both sexes. He has been a self-confessed geek for as long as he can remember, having been raised through the 80s on a steady diet of Doctor Who, Star Trek, Red Dwarf and (sigh) Knight Rider. Throw the usual assortment of Saturday morning cartoons into the mix and we have something quite exceptional: someone with an encyclopaedic knowledge of utter tosh; a love of giant robots and spaceships fighting; and the strange desire to leap tall buildings in a single bound while wearing his underpants over his trousers. The death ray is currently in the works and one day you shall all bow to him, his giant space station and fleet of funky orange space shuttles...

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