Monday, August 1, 2016

Review - The Berzerk Death Dealer #1

"Fear thy reaper, for he fears no one!"

Death gets everyone in the end (except possibly for those with higher levels of income and advancements in medical technology). Some people fear the reaper while others enjoy working for him. Diablo is one such individual in The Berzerk Death Dealer #1. The issue is written by Vishal Rajput and illustrated by Ashlee Galloway.

Gothic Town is a place where anarchy is the name of the game and those willing to do what it takes to survive are winning. Maz Latex and Da'Fetish Queenz are poised to take over the town, prompting Diablo to step in and put to use his assassin skills on behalf of his Demon Clan. Rockabella is his trusted dog/ride and joins him in ridding Queenz on behalf of Big Boss.

The book's opening more or less sets the tone for what the remainder of issue will contain as Rajput focuses on the rebellious attitude that accompanies punk. Diablo's take on life is to live it up and enjoy every minute of it, whether it's getting stoned with his dog or killing rival gang-members at the behalf of his boss. The entire issue focuses on establishing Diablo as the best he is at what he does, but it's clear that Rajput is drawing from other characters such as Ghost Rider for inspiration. The dialogue is presented pretty hurriedly as Rajput crashes his way through the plot, doing whatever it takes to get Diablo from point A to point B. Because of the script style, the pacing feels a little erratic--rushed in some spots and a little slow in others.

Setting the mood visually is Galloway's art which relies on manga/anime for inspiration. Diablo is illustrated as something of a cross between a Musketeer and a Psycho from Borderlands. Other characters are rendered with softer edges as Galloway eschews hard lines throughout. The book does have plenty of sex and gore to go around as well, in that Galloway illustrates the female characters very voluptuously and offers spritzes of red to showcase Diablo's combat prowess. And Galloway also works in some BDSM references to give the book more of the anything goes attitude symbolic of punk and metal. The first few pages are extremely difficult to read though because of the stylized font used for the lettering.

The Berzerk Death Dealer #1 wears its influences on its sleeve. Diablo is every bit the punker assassin that he claims to be, relishing the chance to do what he does. Rajput's script characterizes him pretty well in this regard at the expense of fleshing out some of the other characters in his world. Galloway's artwork is as brash as the lead character and steeps the book in a noir grittiness. The Berzerk Death Dealer #1 will appeal to those readers looking for something a lot darker and full of characters who thrive on being anti-heroes.

The Berzerk Death Dealer #1 is available now.


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