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Virus empowered super heroes rally in "Death Sentence #5" from Titan Comics

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Death Sentence #5

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Arriving in comic shops from across the pond is the genuine penultimate issue of "Death Sentence", the series from U.K. based Titan Comics which hasn't met a taboo it disliked. This series about a terminal STD which bestows super-powers to those infected with it has never shied away from extreme violence, mature language and a ton of nudity, and this fifth issue by creators Monty Nero and Mike Dowling hardly bucks that trend. If anything, things become more intense as a showdown which has been building throughout the entire series thus far begins to come to a head.

The previous issues throughout this tale have introduced readers to the life and times of three victims of the lethal "G-plus" virus. As the virus has been proven to thrive upon and enhance creative and artistic talents, it is no surprise that all three practice different creative arts. Verity Fette was a tormented painter and designer who buried her talent for too long to earn a living. Danny "Weasel" Waissel was a musician whose talents had been diminished by drugs and other excesses. And David "Monty" Montgomery was a raunchy comedian who was easily the most well known and successful of the two before his virus hit. Unfortunately, while Verity and Weasel wound up losing control of their budding abilities and wound up arrested and stuck on a strange island compound for study and experimentation, Monty has grown mad with power and literally taken control of London via regicide and mass slaughter.

Left with few options, the doctors and other people who run the island compound are forced into giving Verity and Weasel a crash course in using their powers in any sort of combat application for hope against stopping Monty short of a full on nuclear and/or tactical strike from an American armada. While Weasel gets into it with some vigor, Verity has become more introverted since arriving on the island and sees death as inevitable. Meanwhile, a round table discussion with various politicians, doctors , and other generals reveal that the "G-plus" virus was man-made, and likely an attempt to create super-soldiers that went wrong.

More heads explode, and as always Dowling is good at depicting the gore in all its glory (for those who like that sort of thing). Fortunately, he is also skilled at drawing realistic body types rather than super models so everyone looks different, whether they have clothes on or not. Nero's script may rely more on curses than some prefer, but that only cements how this is hardly a PG-13 affair meant to sell action figures. To a degree this inevitable climax was inevitable as soon as the cast were split up two issues ago, but at the very least Weasel and Verity have had some time on the island to prepare, as Monty has had time to completely devolve into a madman - albeit one who remains funny to read. The stakes are as high as can be and nobody is guaranteed to survive to fulfill some corporate agenda.

A violent and spectacular climax is expected when the series wraps up in March, and hopefully it fulfills on the expectations put forth here. For those who like high powered superhero action but dislike how "safe" the plots are or how easily people seem to fall into spandex, this is a series which offers more realistic characters - warts and all - faced with an impossible situation and making the most of it; even in poor or dangerous ways. Regardless, "Death Sentence" isn't to be ignored.

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