Review - Dead Squad: Ayala Tal #1

"You are the one they call the Angel of Death."

The life an assassin is exciting and thrilling, but it does come at a cost: you're constantly risking your life for your profession. For many though, that's not nearly that much of an issue. When you're an assassin as good as Ayala Tal in Dead Squad: Ayala Tal #1 from Darby Pop Publshing, there are other things that are issues. The issue is written by Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia, illustrated by Metho Diaz, inked by Jonas Trindade, colored by Thiago Ribeiro and lettered by Troy Peteri.

Ayala Tal makes a living as the Angel of Death, an assassin whose reputation precedes her. Her origins as such are something of a mystery though...until now. Ayala is forced to reconcile the loss of someone dear with her thirst for revenge, all the while working against the backdrop of the industrial military complex pervasive throughout the world.

Dead Squad: Ayala Tal #1 is extraordinarily fast-paced, as Federman and Scaia crash through a day in the life of Ayala in an effort to showcase her origins so to speak. Her talents as an assassin are immeasurable and really show through in the book, courtesy of the trajectory the writers place her on. Federman and Scaia aren't shy about throwing Ayala to the wolves on more than one occasion to see how she fares, but those situations also do a good job of showcasing her talents. The breakneck pace of the issue doesn't really allow the reader much time to soak in her trials though. It works from the action perspective, but from an origin story perspective it feels a little too hurried.

Pencils in the issue are largely solid, with Diaz presenting Ayala as a woman who's equally comfortable in combat as she is behind the scope of a sniper rifle. Ayala is presented with a dominating stature, ensuring the reader doesn't for one second doubt her abilities. The pencils are accented by bold inks from Trindade, all of which effectively mask certain aspects of the illustrations in shadows for effect. Ribeiro's colors are largely in the realm of greens and reds, adding emphasis to the action sequences that are punctuated by gunfire or explosions. Panel layouts are largely grid and safe for the most part, but there are a few scope insets toward the end that add an extra dimension to the proceedings.

Dead Squad: Ayala Tal #1 pretty much steps on the gas and doesn't let up. This gives the book a sense of recklessness that matches Ayala herself, as she's one who's aware of her talents and is supremely confident in using them to get out of just about any situation. The script by Federman and Scaia is pretty straightforward and presents enough to give readers a glimpse into Ayala's interesting life. The illustrations by Diaz showcase the action cleanly, giving the reader plenty to take in and digest to better understand Ayala's origin. Dead Squad: Ayala Tal #1 is an interesting issue that has a larger place in the Dead Squad universe, but can also stand on its own as a primer on a lethal assassin in Ayala Tal.

Dead Squad: Ayala Tal #1 is in stores now.