Writer: David Hazan
Artist: Alex Moore
Publisher: Scout Comics
WHAT IS IT?
A fabulous noir mystery about a former assassin turned drag queen.
The Birdcage meets the Hitman series.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
By day, Drew is just your average gay man troubled by his mysterious past as a hitman, but by night he becomes Death Drop, the lip-synching drag queen extraordinaire and star performer for Club Posterior. On top of that, Drew has no problem sticking his delectable heels into the throats of homophobes and bigots alike; just a little something to keep the gayborhood safe. After a stellar performance, one of Drew’s coworkers says his partner has gone missing amid a string of mysterious disappearances. At the urging of his boss, Mal also known as Club Posterior’s hostess Mama Henny, he straps up once again to find out just what’s going on.
Hazan crafts an excellent introduction to this story that drops plenty of nuggets that will entice readers to continue with the series.
Moore’s clean linework heightens the exaggerated facial expressions and ensures every emotional beat is clear. Everything from campy to heartfelt is utilized to an excellent degree.
Likewise, Moore has a keen sense of balance concerning their color palette choices. All of the scenes in the Posterior Club are lush with pinks and blues, while the scenes in the outside world are bleaker and muted, immediately displaying the different vibes of these two worlds.
Gattoni’s lettering manages to be colorful and distinct without overshadowing the exuberant nightlife within the book’s setting. His caption boxes depicting singing are particularly gorgeous.
Hazan’s dialogue is terribly fun to read featuring lots of sarcasm and wit that immediately display the relationships between each character.
Moore’s variety in panel shapes is highly creative and visually poignant. Anything from broken glass to the shaky aftershocks of a headbutt frames the art and adds much drama to the story.
The layouts stray away from typical comic pages, sometimes going in a zig-zag pattern, but thanks to the skillful placement of panels and lettering, it is still a smooth read.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Content Warning: This book shows depictions of bigotry and violence towards LGBTQ people including some slurs. Anyone sensitive to these depictions should read with caution.
There are a few sections where a large chunk of dialogue is squeezed into a few panels and slams the brakes on an otherwise nice flow. Condensing some of this or spreading it out over more panels would have helped.
The lettering denoting location changes are sometimes a harsh contrast from the rest of the art and while they fit the overall aesthetic of the book, could have gelled better with everything.
The ending features a character referenced in the beginning, but because their face isn’t featured clearly in the opening scenes, it’s not immediately clear that this character has reappeared. Something more distinct in the design or a camera angle focused more on their face would have made the twist more impactul.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
In these times where drag is villainized, Death Drop: Drag Assassin is a refreshing book featuring complex characters. Right away, readers are given a more intimate look into why people perform drag and ensure that Drew, Mal, and the rest of the queens at Club Posterior are portrayed as human with every bit of heartbreak and joy that entails. Death Drop (Drew) in particular is a fascinating character who is both playfully catty and deeply cynical; a man who cares about his gay community, but also tries to run away from all of the pain that comes with it.
The art and lettering are the perfect match. Moore manages to make every page interesting even when it's just a conversation between characters. They play with layout positioning so that some pages start on the top right or others take untraditional routes through the art. Readers will always be on their toes as they devour each scene. Then comes Gattoni whose balloons and sound effects marvelously mesh with the colorful art while also ensuring the pages are read silkily smooth. Overall, these two’s teamwork was an awesome change of pace from the usual left-to-right-top-to-bottom comics reading.
Perfect for anyone looking for a deliciously queer story with fleshed-out characters and commendable craft, Death Drop: Drag Assassin truly delivers.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Nottingham by David Hazan & Shane Connery Volk
Monomyth by David Hazan & Cecilia Lo Valvo
Kickass Drag Queen by Bob the Drag Queen & Matteo Lane
If you like the art:
Red Sonja: Black, White & Red #5 by Oliver Gerlach & Alex Moore
D!CK & F@NNY by Tom Woodman & Alex Moore
Grim by Stephanie Phillips & Flaviano
ABOUT THE CREATORS
David Hazan (@ DavidTHazan) – Writer
Winner of the Mad Cave Studios Talent Search in 2019, Hazan has risen through the ranks, writing books for AfterShock Comics, Scout Comics, and Mad Cave Studios.
They find inspiration for their stories by doing mundane tasks such as walking or cleaning.
Hazan hails from Australia.
Alex Moore (@NotAnotherAlex) – Artist
A rising talent, Moore has had comics published by Dynamite, Scout Comics, and Source Point Press.
They are also a talented cover artist and illustrator being commissioned by Dark Horse and, BBC Radio, Wired Magazine.
Moore hails from the United Kingdom.
Lucas Gattoni (@LetteringBear) – Letterer
Comfortable working in the indie and professionally published sphere, Gattoni has lettered many books including ones published by DC, Dark Horse, IDW, Comixology, Scout Comics, and A Wave Blue World.
He was been a part of multiple GLAAD Media Award-nominated books including Boys In Love which won “Oustanding Original Graphic Novel/Anthology” in 2023.
Gattoni is a native Spanish speaker and adept at lettering in that language as well as English.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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All Death Drop Drag Assassin characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright of Scout Comics or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.