The new Death's Head is like a Starbucks hipster!
I’ve been trying to work out the tone Tini Howard is trying to go for in Death’s Head. It’s a comedy book for sure, but what age range? Death’s Head as a character is too old for kids to be nostalgic about yet, the humour is too kid friendly and cringe inducing for adults to enjoy. Teenagers? Even then it would be towards the younger side of that age bracket.
As mentioned in my review of the previous issue, Wiccan and Hulkling are a nice addition to the story and deserve more limelight, but other than the fact that they brought the original Death’s Head and Death’s Head V together, they don’t add much to the story. On top of that, we get another member of the original Young Avengers team member dropping by to join in on the action, slowly proving that this is a Young Avengers comic rather than whoever the book seems to be named after!
The humour in this issue is conflicting. It’s not terribly done, in fact, it managed to get a few chuckles out of min with the visual gags, yet everything else comedy wise seems to fall flat. Even going to the point by trying to expand on it and ruin what was originally a okay-at-best joke. What really made me realise that the intended audience for this book isn’t adults is the use of a “your mom” joke. And it’s not even a funny one.
Complaints about the humour aside, the writing is rather strong when it comes to characterisation and story. Wiccan and Hulkling feel like they have unannounced relationship problems with each other, which isn’t as focused on compared to the last issue. Which is a good thing as Death’s Head gets more focus.
Speaking of Death’s Head, we get some great action and comedy moments from his interactions with his “upgrade”, Death’s Head V (or Vee as they like to call him). DH makes it very clear that even though it’s not shown, his prior encounters with newer models never went well, yet he was always the successor in those battles. This new version definitely feels like the hipster knock-off version that you’d find in Starbucks; acting like a teenager that always has an answer for everything, even if it means getting them into trouble.
Not that I have a problem with that, it’s just jarring to see that sort of behaviour coming from a killing machine.
Kei Zama’s art is growing on me, but the manga style moments of comedy doesn’t fit the characters. Especially Wiccan who always seems to be on the receiving end of these moments. My biggest problem with this issue is the colouring by Felipe Sobreiro, it’s either way to bright and colourful or rather dull or lifeless. The latter being prominent when character’s aren’t in their hero costumes, the art just looks so boring and lifeless due to the colouring in these panels and it takes away how nice the art can be when you take it all in as a whole.
To wrap this all up, I think a Death’s Head comic that features the Young Avengers has potential, I just don’t believe that Tini Howard was the best choice for it. I don’t doubt her writing abilities, they just don’t suit the characters.
First posted on my personal blog on 11/07/2019.