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Titan Comics deliver a funny, violent frolic with 'Death Sentence'

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Death Sentence (Titan Comics)

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There is a new sexually transmitted disease called the G-Plus virus. It has no known cure and is inevitably fatal. This doesn't exactly sound like a comic book premise until the fact that the virus unlocks superhuman abilities in those that contract it, as if to use up the body's potential of an entire lifetime, shortened and intensified into only months.

The story concentrates on three of those stricken with the disease. These three don't know each other but their G-Plus cases are considered extreme as their affliction manifests itself into frightening new skills. Verity Fette is an artist employed as a graphic designer, that is, until she tells off her insensitive boss and requests he throw her job into an uncomfortable place. She can transmogrify into liquids and flammable substances. Danny Waissel, Weasel, is a young but washed up rock-and-roller whose record company is trying their best to exploit their asset's limited time. His hands emit acid and he can phase through objects like a phantom (or Kitty Pride). The third is Russell Brand, for all intents and purposes (or, at least, a parody). David Montgomery is a long-haired British comedian with an insatiable libido. He is self-absorbed and utterly, morally bankrupt. Naturally, he's the one with the most powerful ability.

Montgomery starts off as merely mind control but his powers continue to grow to near-omnipotence. He declares himself King and turns Buckingham Palace into Caligula's lair, a monument to debauchery and the basest of desires. He callously and effortlessly murders thousands with a thought, keeping the rest of his kingdom under his thrall. His abilities and sphere of influence expand to the point where taking him out becomes the only option. However, no one can get close enough to do it without succumbing to Monty's mind. Only people with high “G-Ratings” have a chance to distract him, Verity and Weasel.

“Death Sentence” is witty and crude with huge scope. It's certainly not for everyone as there is plenty of violence and profanity, and carnal content but it isn't used gratuitously. It helps to fuel the story, just as Matt Fraction does with his “Sex Criminals” series. The copious amounts of sex acts are staged in ways that aren't very graphic. Mike Dowling's art is surprisingly understated for the material but he sure knows how to get his characters to emote. There is a lot of despair depicted in the faces. Absurdly funny and strangely relate-able, Monty Nero has written an epic tale about meaning, what truly matters to individuals as well as the whole. Some people want to live a meaningless life of pomp, others want to make an impact and leave something behind. Those who have everything can still want more while otherwise unremarkable people can be capable of the astounding. It all depends on their motivation. Balancing mayhem and message, “Death Sentence” almost seems destined to be under-appreciated by the masses. Their loss.

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