Delusional Honesty NYCC ’11: Advance Reviews – Dead Man’s Run #0

At this year’s New York Comic Con, this blogger had the honor and pleasure of sneaking peeks at not one, but two special projects that should be of interest to you, my assembled legions. (Or, you know, the two or three of you that read this thing.) I was trying to hold back in one case, because I didn’t want Marvel editorial to get miffed at me for spoiling the beans far in advance. You guys know me–I’ll spoil important details only when I warn, and never when reviewing a book before its release.

So, yes. Today I have two special treats available to you. From Aspen Comics, I’ve been able to read an advance copy of Greg Pak and Tony Parker’s Dead Man’s Run #0, which I’m told will be available this Wednesday, October 26. Many thanks to Greg for the advance peek. (I’m not the only one–NYCC attendees could score their own copies of the book, right at the Aspen booth on the show floor, complete with an exclusive cover by the very talented Tony! Did you get yours?)

 

DEAD MAN’S RUN #0 – Aspen Comics, $2.50
By Greg Pak, Tony Parker & Peter Steigerwald
Created by Ben Roberts

“Jailbreak from Hell.” Those three words, as Greg Pak states in his text piece in the back of this issue, were all he needed to spark his imagination. In this issue Pak introduces readers to the world beneath the Andrew Jackson Federal Corrections Facility. Captain Frank Romero is a prison guard who’s about to get in way over his head when an explosion rocks the prison, leading to the catastrophic revelation of what exactly lurks below.

It’s a “zero” issue, so readers have largely accepted what such an issue entails. In this case, it’s a twelve-page prologue story by Pak and his artistic collaborators, Tony Parker (fresh off BOOM!’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) and Peter Steigerwald (who subs for regular colorist David Curiel). Following the lead story are the aforementioned text piece by Pak and a four-page peek into Parker’s sketchbook, with designs for many of the lead characters. Aspen delivers the goods with these materials, providing ample incentive to find the first issue when it premieres in January.

So, what about this first story? I don’t want to spoil too much here. Not that there’s much to spoil, mind you–only twelve pages, remember? If the sketchbook at the back is any indication, we get one page of introduction to the story’s leads, surrounded by eleven pages where Pak and Parker skillfully begin to present their vision of creator Ben Roberts’ world. Comparing Hell to a jail may have been done before–the comparison is nothing if not apt–but the creators immediately establish enough texture so as to avoid the obvious pitfalls. Pak is always skilled with words–never a word out of place. And what about Tony Parker? While Androids may have been a powerful artistic statement, Dead Man’s Run will–hopefully–be the project that puts his name on everyone’s lips as one to watch. While colorist Steigerwald helps, Parker brings a terrific sense of style to every page, matching Pak’s script.

Supernatural overtones, check. Fascinating, if slightly goofy, high concept? Check. Terrifically fitting, “Twilight Zone”-type ending for this prelude? Check. A killer creative team to propel us along this insane journey? You bet.

Buy It.

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