Current Reviews


Dead@17 #4

Posted: Tuesday, March 2, 2004
By: Egg Embry

Story and Art: Josh Howard
Published by Viper Comics

Four months later, it is over; Viper Comics’ first mini-series, DEAD@17, closes out with a bang! I have been anticipating, and dreading, this for a while as I LOVE THIS SERIES! Josh Howard wrote and drew an incredible dark teen adventure starring Hazy and Nara, two girls who maintain their special connection through death and a myriad of unbelievable events.

Not too long ago, seventeen-year-old Nara Leigh Kilday was attacked and murdered by a psychopath. What is the end of most stories was merely the beginning of Nara’s because she returned from the grave; no rigor mortis or rotting flesh on her. (Click the titles of the comics to read my reviews of Issue One,”>Zombies, Are They Comic’s New Monkey?, for an interview that Josh Howard participated in about the undead in comics and DEAD@17.)

For issue four of Nara and Hazy’s journey, writer/artist Josh Howard had a lot of ground to cover and lots of loose ends to tie up. He finishes off this wonderful series at a breakneck pace. His art is incredible, better than any of the previous issues. I just dig it! The coloring really conveys the emotions of the tale. And Josh manages to pack in tons of tight-angled shots to satisfactorily complete the whole story in this issue. When I thumb through it, the layout and structure of each page (not the finished art, just the storytelling) is very reminiscent of George Perez’s Teen Titans work; twelve-panel pages that REALLY work expressing the story. I think the whole issue looks fantastic!

As always, the story is good, good, good. And the characters interact well together. And action! This issue is the climatic battle that the series has nicely built to. Nara versus Hans Dargo. This issue resolves many threads and ends with several characters dying, but not coming back. It is a very satisfying conclusion to Mister Howard’s teenage journey.

What can I say, I love it!

And because of that, I’m sad. DEAD@17 volume 1 is over. Praised by myself and dozens of other reviewers and professionals, appearing in blurbs in Wizard magazine #149 and #150, selling out issues at Diamond Distributors, spawning a sequel, making a raising star out of Josh Howard, being compiled into a trade, and putting Viper Comics on the map… pretty good for the first four issues from a coupla’ guys from Texas.

But on the bright side, April will see the debut of Josh Howard’s sequel mini-series, DEAD@17: Blood of Saints starts. And based on this one, I’M THERE!

See you in April!

For more information on Viper Comics and DEAD@17, click HERE.

For more information about Egg, click HERE.

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