Greg Pak sends his characters to Hell. Literally

Greg Pak sends his characters to Hell. Literally

IGN: Dead Man’s Run #0 Review

The worst thing about Dead Man’s Run #0 is that I have to wait until January for the series to come back for issue #1. Greg Pak’s new book from Aspen Comics should come as no surprise for fans of the writer – it’s chock full of big, bizarre ideas without ever sacrificing the one thing that a story needs to be truly memorable: character. Despite the high concept of a “jailbreak from Hell,” Pak manages to set the stage for a story rife with fascinating thematic centerpieces and multi-faceted characters.

Issue #0 serves as the baseline entryway of the story, introducing us to the main character and his role as a guard for the world’s most elite jail – which happens to literally be Hell. Sounds like a pretty important job, no? You’d think so, but Pak lumps some familiar real world problems onto Captain Romero and makes him instantly identifiable, if shrouded in mystery. However, what’s even more interesting is what happens once Romero and his team arrive in Hell – nothing is quite as it seems and Pak does a superb job of establishing a big ol’ gray area. It’s easy to see that no one is going to quite be black and white, including our anchor character. It’s going to be interesting to watch Pak play with the notions of justice and redemption in this setting, roads he’s traveled well in the past, but never quite like this.

Joining Pak is artist Tony Parker, who excels in the more radical Hell scenes but comes up a little bit short in the real world settings. Luckily, the script spends more time in the bizarre than it does in our world, so ultimately Parker’s work gets a chance to shine. His character work in either locale remains solid, and though the inking does little to help establish depth, Peter Steigerwald’s fantastic color palette helps to liven up the pages and completely sell the atmosphere of the issue. If Pak’s teases towards the story’s Hellish setting in future issues is to be believed, then Parker should get a chance to show off even further in upcoming installments.

If you’re a fan of Pak’s past work at Marvel, you owe it to yourself to watch him take his affinity for character-driven action into the creator-owned (hell) world.