Dead Man's Run #0 by Greg Pak, Tony Parker, and Peter Steigerwald (colors) & Josh Reed (letters) came out today from Aspen Comics. (Walking Dead producer Gale Anne Hurd is also producing Dead Man's Run through her Valhalla production company.) I received a review copy in the mail this week and couldn't wait to read it, as Pak is quickly moving up the list of my favorite writers (my first experience with his writing being the Battlestar Galactica comics.)
Laura always suggests, and I now second this, that if you don't know what titles to read, follow the author. Lots of people followed Gail Simone and are now discovering the Batgirl title for the first time. (Though, I still recommend everyone check out Bryan Q. Miller's run on the title.) After Vision Machine, and this comic, I'm pretty sure I'm going to follow Greg Pak around, too.
...It doesn't hurt that he apparently really likes robots.
I never know whether to put my criticisms first, or the praise, so let's put it this way:
My #1 criticism is that it was way too short. With all the ads from Aspen and the concept art in the back, the actual story was only 12 pages long. I suppose that's not a total crime, what with it being a zero issue. But the story won't continue until Dead Man's Run #1 in January, and I don't want to wait that long.
The introductory comic drops you in to the middle of a jailbreak from Hell. In this comic's world, Hell is the maximummiest of maximum security prisons, a labyrinth capped by a pyramid in the middle of the Californian desert. There appears to be nightmarish levels of bureaucracy, not to mention demons and other monsters. The warden is -- I'm going to infer here -- a demon, as she's purple skinned and yellow eyed. The protagonist of the story is an ex-military prison guard named Romero, who immediately gets screwed by this job in just these twelve short pages.
I review a lot of stuff, and I recommend a lot that I think needs the help (iZombie, in particular, needs more of you reading it, because if it gets canceled, I can't be held responsible for my actions.) I very rarely will put a comic in to someone's hand because I think they, specifically, need to read it. But I think this comic has the potential to be something Rania and Laura would really love, not just because of our love for the show Supernatural.
We've been saying for years that ladies don't necessarily mind violence, sexified characters, mysteries or crime stories -- what we mind is bad writing and terrible art. A lot can be forgiven, story-wise, if we think your artwork is exceptional. (See: My latest Ghostbusters review, Episode 134.) To a certain extent, the reverse is also true. (Let's be honest, you still have to look at the comic.)
Dead Man's Run is intriguing, it has some violence, the supernatural, and what promises to be a thrilling mystery. I think fans of Supernatural, The Unwritten, and maybe even Lost will enjoy the preview issue. Let's hope the series lives up to #0.
Greg Pak currently writes Alpha Flight with Fred VanLente, Astonishing X-Men, and Vision Machine (which we review in Episode 135 of the podcast.)
Tony Parker did the art for Boom! studios' translation of Phillip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" He is not to be confused with the point guard of the same name, though that would be awesome if a basketball player was sitting out the lockout by making comics. He's new to Twitter, check him out.