Just to recap from my review of Dead Man’s Run #0, this story is all about an inescapable prison that happens to be located in the bowels of hell. Greg Pak (Planet Hulk) builds the tension from page one, when we pick up with Captain Frank Romero, the tough-as-nails soldier sent in to the prison to contain an attempted break out. He’s fallen to his death and in his last gasping breath orders his men to send him Sam Tinker, the cartographer who mapped out the prison’s maze of corridors for him. Tony Parker (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) conveys so much depth and mood in his artwork here. Scenes are lush and dense, giving the impression of shadows on the edges of what your seeing that works perfectly with the dark world Dead Man’s Run takes place in.
In #0 we only just dipped our toes into hell’s prison as we ventured down with Captain Romero to investigate the attempted break out. In Dead Man’s Run #1 we see how easy it is to end up down there, even as life seems to be skipping along happily for Sam Tinker above ground, when the right (or wrong) inmate wants you to join him. Sam’s journey starts brutally, sweeping his innocent sister along for the ride, and doesn’t seem to be headed in a positive direction as he meets malicious inmates, creepy, merciless prison guards and eventually the mysterious warden. She is both beautiful and cold, sad and clever, offering no assistance or comfort to Sam in his struggle to understand what’s happening. Captain Romero wants out of the prison and he’s using Sam’s map making skills to help him, meanwhile Sam is focused on saving his sister.
The writing in this story moves fast and smooth, keeps you turning the pages anxiously to see what’s coming next. Greg Pak does a great job of creating an atmosphere full of danger and violence without ever depleting the mystery of where the story is going. Tony Parker’s artwork is sweet on the eyes, vibrant and edgy. I enjoy his style of allowing some faces and features to blur a bit while sharpening details in the scene that would otherwise go unnoticed; the lines in a city through a car window, the muscles of a hundred grasping, bodiless hands, the terror in the eyes of a dead woman about to lose her soul forever. Dead Man’s Run #1 is super fun and tense, so far succeeding in telling a story of hell that hasn’t been done yet. I’m really looking forward to following this one and I recommend you pick it up at your local comic shop.
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Tony Parker
Published by Aspen Comics
Release date January 18, 2012