Review - Dead Man's Run #0

Greg Pak may be known most famously as of late as that "Hulk guy," but of course he's so much more than that. He's a truly talented writer, with his abilities now at Aspen Comics on a new title called Dead Man's Run #0--a crazy story about a jailbreak. Not just any jailbreak. A jailbreak from hell.

Dead Man's Run #0 is a collaboration between Aspen Comics and Gale Anne Hurd's Valhalla Entertainment (who seems to be in everything these days). It's written by Pak, illustrated by Tony Parker and colored by Peter Steigerwald.

Pak has created a prison that is hell, but it's more like a confined city with many levels (probably owing to Dante's seven levels). It has a sense of government behind it, as not just anyone can waltz in and visit inmates. Rather, you have to have what appears to be a very high level of clearance to even know about it, which could lead to some sinister, shadowy organization/government at the top at some point.

The main character--Captain Romero--is in charge of keeping the peace on Earth in acting as a guard of sorts for the prison and is called into action for a potential jailbreak. Sam Tinker will no doubt be another major player as a cartographer who has enlisted a team to help save his sister. Romero's fate at the end of the issue leaves a lot unanswered and it'll be intriguing to see how it plays out.

Pak's story is pretty interesting and adds a twist to the idea of hell as a prison. Those below aren't all necessarily condemned as there's a General residing there who has made quite a name for himself. There's also the mysterious woman who seems to be pulling the strings and is most likely the warden.

Tony Parker's illustrations are gritty. There's a sense of evil accompanying them, which is further exacerbated by Peter Steigerwald's colors. It's a very red palette, fitting in with the theme of hell pervasive throughout the issue. The issue is full of rich fires and burnt landscapes, really making the environment an unexpected character in the comic. The comic makes you feel as if it could burst into flame at any moment.

The plot moves at a very brisk pace, rushing you from convenience store to headquarters to hell. It's likely that this was Pak's intent; it is Dead Man's Run after all. It's a fairly empty zero issue in a sense, really just explaining Romero's involvement and the concept hell as a prison city. The first issue is set up well though and it'll be intriguing to see how it works out for him.

The issue is in stores October 26 and interiors are below.