Titan Comics: DEATH SENTENCE LONDON #1 Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Titan Comics: DEATH SENTENCE LONDON #1 Review

Tony Fyler is dying…again.

We love a bit of Death Sentence here at WarpedFactor – it’s a nasty, gritty, realistically human, funny world with a great philosophical underpinning. Created by MontyNero, and drawn in its first arc by Mike Dowling, Death Sentence was a sick little sci-fi symphony of sex, drugs, rock and roll, art, death and meaning.

It’s baaaaa-aaaaack!

Storywise, the events of the first Death Sentence cycle are the immediate background here – London devastated, millions of new infections of G+ - the virus that gives you brilliance, or skill, or superpower, but which kills you within six months – and a city with new issues: the mass destruction resulting in bodies unburied in the streets, looting, and political unrest.

Meanwhile, in the US, there’s the emergence of a new character – Jeb, an undercover cop who’s been gathering information on a rag-tag bunch of domestic terrorists, and whose long operation comes to a surprising head when one of the terrorists is revealed to be G+. The way that revelation is dealt with is both nasty and invigorating – a big new piece of puzzle to be considered going forward. Also… ick. For Death Sentence London, issue #1, the art is delivered by rising star Martin Simmonds, so there’s a slightly different style to the images, but for the most part, Simmonds stays true to the spirit of the original, while bringing his own sense of flair to the panels. He proves his worth in this sequence: having to render things that should in no way make sense, he turns them into a gruesome extravaganza that can both be followed and marveled at, and which leaves the reader just a little queasy.

The blended world of the here and now and the slightly sci-fi that trademarked the original Death Sentence is back in force here, though the differences between the Death Sentence world and our own are slightly more pronounced – what is clearly McDonalds in our world is McNeals, the golden arches simply getting an additional half-arch to symbolize the “N”. What’s more the Obama administration is explicitly referenced, but the Mayor of London, who it will suffice to say has very familiar flyaway blond hair and a line of bluster to match, is here named Tony Bronson (the surname being a deliciously close but sweetly twisted touch that will remind geeks of a certain age of the Comic Strip film GLC). We can only assume – especially given how this issue ends – that the name change might be an act of self-protection from MontyNero, if the Mayor goes on to do things unbecoming a public official as the story unfolds.

The use of sources outside the story too  was a welcome feature of the first Death Sentence arc, and it returns to form a great back cover here – a recognizable news website featuring on an e-reader, summing up the shift in the world that the events of the original Death Sentence has brought with it. It’s a shift that is only beginning to be noticed and understood in this issue, but all the indications are that it will form a solid underlying theme of the Death Sentence London arc.

Yes, yes, we know – arcs are all very well and good and necessary, but without characters to cheer for, they’re no good whatsoever. Fortunately, the heroes of the first Death Sentence, one of whom looked significantly less than well at the end, are back! Weasel, the washed-up multi-addict rock star with a new dose of paternal pain is being heralded as a hero of the people after his part in the takedown of Super-G egomaniac Monty. Weasel’s only glimpsed in this issue, being passed shoulder high among the crowd, but we imagine he’ll be back in a bigger way next time – which is as good a reason to buy issue #2 as we’d need. But ohhh, the return of Verity, who was so hugely instrumental in defeating Monty – Verity Fette, Art Girl, as she described herself here – is a thing of kick-ass take-no-prisoners, harder-edged beauty, delivered in a handful of panels that add significantly to the overall aesthetic pleasure of the issue – again, Simmonds proving his worth and his determination to stamp his own artistic style on the book.

So the stage is almost set – the world’s in G+ chaos, London most particularly. The Mayor’s acting like a dictator, Jeb’s backstory is delivered, ready for him to take a bigger part in the story, and there’s a disturbing new development in the fight against G+ rogues. Weasel and Verity are both back, and the potential for further disaster is quivering on the sidelines. All this and more (including probably the best delivery of the word ‘Cockwomble’ so far in 2015) is waiting for you in Death Sentence London, issue #1. Get it now – the clock is ticking…

Death Sentence London #1 is released June 10th 2015.

Tony Fyler lives in a cave of wall-to-wall DVDs and Blu-Rays somewhere fairly nondescript in Wales, and never goes out to meet the "Real People". Who, Torchwood, Sherlock, Blake, Treks, Star Wars, obscure stuff from the 70s and 80s and comedy from the dawn of time mean he never has to. By day, he runs an editing house, largely as an excuse not to have to work for a living. He's currently writing a Book. With Pages and everything. Follow his progress at FylerWrites.co.uk

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