DEATH OR GLORY, VOL. 1
Writer: Rick Remender
Publisher: Image Comics
WHAT IS IT?
A strong female lead, a ticking clock, a road trip and an impossible task ahead. Draped in a sort-of Americana, the story takes aim at America's true enemies and what "freedom" truly means.
Ever wonder what'd happen if Gone in 60 Seconds had a lovechild with Thoreau's Walden? Check this out.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Glory grew up off the grid, thanks to her dad, who one day decided to trade chasing the American Dream for a more attainable version of happiness and freedom.
Unfortunately, her dad now has liver cancer, and no insurance. Glory's gotta find a way to pay for an extremely expensive surgery, just so her father can keep living.
And she only has one week.
She knows one potential option, but it's dangerous, and involves her mobster ex-husband.
Can she survive pulling off this heist alone? And can she do it in time to save her father? Maybe. But she might just have to compromise everything she believes in to do it.
Remender's one of my favorite writers, and he knows how to write a darn fine story. While Death or Glory might not be for everyone, he keeps the action and thematic tension flowing, which makes it a real page-turner.
Interesting world building, cool weapons, good banter, and a ticking clock all serve to hook the reader.
Bengal's art is absolutely stunning -- every page is a pin-up.
The covers to the issues alone are worth the price of the comic, but the interior pages (as shown below) are just as gorgeous.
The art seems to take a photo-realism and elevate it with vibrant color and anime influences.
Wooton's got great sound effect design here and his narrative pacing is on point, especially in flashback scenes with heavy exposition.
I love and appreciate the creators' personal and political leanings represented in this title.
Strong, three-dimensional female lead.
Themes of anti-capitalism and "living off the grid."
Several villains, especially the less intelligent ones, are shown wearing red hats or using language often leveraged by the alt-right.
This comic is action-packed, so strap in for one heck of a ride!
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
The book's description advertises numbers of heists, miles traveled, psychopaths, and while it makes for a great way to get you to read the comic, and the reading experience certainly isn't a let-down, those things don't seem represented in this first volume.
It seems like all the bad guys are psychopaths, not just two of them (misrepresented by the back panel).
I don't remember miles traveled ever being something mentioned, and definitely not something central to the plot (again, misrepresented by the synopsis).
When I think "heist," I think about a specialized team of individuals each doing something different to break through defenses and steal something. While there is stealing involved, there's not really a team that gets put together or any Ocean's 11 business going on. (This is the last time I mention the book's synopsis, but it did feel like a bait-and-switch)
While the initial scene sets the tone for the book, hooks readers with banter and violence and shows a cool weapon, it didn't seem to have much bearing on the rest of the story.
Also, I thought the rest of the book might seem like a steampunky alternate reality after seeing the weapon in the first scene, but everything else in the comic seems pretty grounded in our reality. It's just kind of a strange way to level-set for the rest of the book.
Strong violence and crude, offensive language might not be the best for kids.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
If you're into action-packed storytelling and bright, gorgeous art, this is a comic you need to read. On the surface, its compelling enough just with the deadline and the stakes and the great characterization. But for those who like their comics with a little bit of underlying meaning, it presents questions about the value of pulling away from traditional concepts of career and success, but does it in a way that doesn't answer the questions for you.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Uncanny X-Force by Rick Remender & various artists
Void Trip by Ryan O'Sullivan & Plaid Klaus
4 Kids Walk Into A Bank by Matthew Rosenberg & Tyler Boss
If you like the art:
Luminae by Bengal
East of West, Vol. 1 by Jonathan Hickman & Nick Dragotta
Motor Crush, Vol. 1 by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart & Babs Tarr
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Rick Remender – Writer
Syfy just canceled up the TV series based on his comic, Deadly Class, but he's shopping it around to other networks
His battle with depression shows through in his stories (especially LOW), which tend to be on the darker side
Multitalented: Has worked in animation on films like The Iron Giant and Titan A. E. and was a writer on video games (Dead Space and Bulletstorm)
Bengal – Artist
Is known internationally for his work on French and Japanese comics, as well as American ones
Said in an interview in 2015 that the writer he'd most like to work with is Rick Remender -- years later, they would work together on this title!
Moniker: Loves Bengal cats, so he took on the name "Bengal"
Rus Wooton – Letterer
Multitalented: He also writes and illustrates comics
Dream Team: He's worked on some of the biggest, most renown titles in the industry
A surfing accident in 1990 left him paralyzed, but he was able to re-teach himself how to draw and letter
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