misteranderson's Death Sentence #2 review

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I sentence you to Death Sentence # 2

Yesterday was extremely productive for me: I went to work, picked up a book I needed to study for the comprehensive exam I have to take in March, found a teaching opportunity to apply for, submitted my application for the University of Cincinnati, and best of all, finally got the second printing of Death Sentence #2 - Forever Fucked? from my friendly neighborhood comic store. If you didn't pick up the first issue, Death Sentence follows three characters who are afflicted with G-Plus, an STD that gives people superhuman powers...and kills them in six months. Weasel is a rock star who can phase, Verity Fette exudes napalm from her pores and turns invisible, and Monty Nero--who is semi-metafictional, named after the book's writer--has mind control abilities. However, their government (the United States'? Britain's?) is hell-bent on making sure our heros can be all that they can be in their last remaining days. ...Which brings us to # 2.

Weasel looks like young Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses), but his star is apparently waning. His douchebag manager wants to squeeze the last vestiges of popularity out of Weasel that he can, which turns out badly this issue. Weasel has a child, but his baby mama doesn't want him anywhere near his son, fearing either transmission of the virus (much as people thought they could get HIV/AIDs from toilet seats and drinking after the afflicted back in the day), or just a lack of control over his powers. Weasel is sad and enraged as he realizes his limited mortality means he won't be part of his son's life. A groupie tries to console him, but is killed by Weasel's emerging power. And then the sh** hits the fan.

Verity Fette is on the run after the explosive ending of the first issue. She discovers she has no one to turn to, and ends up on a mysterious island. Will this be a refuge for her, or is she more f***ed than she was before?

Monty Nero, who reminds me of Russel Brand herein, gets a visit from the Man, as well. However, Monty has a better handle on his powers than the book's other two protagonists, and so his life doesn't seem to be in quite as much turmoil as theirs. Not yet, anyhow.

Where the first issue seemed to focus on the characters' discovery of their powers, this issue centered around the realization that their lives were irrevocably changed by the G-Plus virus. In reality, we seem to have forgotten the widespread panic that AIDs caused throughout the 1980s, or subsequent fears created (briefly) by Mad Cow Disease or Avian Flu. However, this comic reminds us of humanity/inhumanity during such outbreaks, from the perspectives of both those tragically diagnoed with a terminal disease--scared, sad, or just wanting to be left alone to cope--and everyone else on the outside, whose ignorance and fear leads to terrible, irrevocably heartwrenching consequences.

This series is fun, but it is also poignant and moving. It is only a limited series published by Titan , not a Marvel or DC title, so please, don't underestimate Monty Nero and artist Mike Dowling's ability to craft a compelling story. You'll kick yourself later.

Also, Monty Nero uses the letter's page area to publish exquisite essays on craft. Those are also worth a look. =)

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