Current Reviews


Venger: Dead Man Rising #1

Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2005
By: Michael Storniolo

Writer: Matthew Spatola
Artist: Jason Ossman

Publisher: Ronin Studios (can be ordered online at Comix

Story: When an old evil returns to the city, a former hero comes out of retirement to settle an old score once and for all.

Comments: Like most books, the cover is the first thing that you see. Itís your first exposure to the book, so your opinion is forming even before you open the book, before you know what itís about. The cover to The Venger was something that caught my eye off the bat. The heavy amount of red, matched with the design, and finally Ossmanís art makes it an attention grabber; something that youíll notice on the shelves. Another thing to love about the cover is that itís only a $2.00 book; and for those two smackers, you get more than any regular comic on the stands: 21 pages of story and art and about 7 pages of bonus materialsÖ worth the buy.

With regards to the story, the first thing that struck me after I read through it was the ďaccuracy,Ē if you will, of the dialogue. There are a lot of newscasts and articles as well as police and medical dialogue in the book. Instead of sounding like a jumbled, made-up mess, Spatola pulls through with believable and real-life dialogue thatís easy on the ears. Whether research was done, or if heís just a smart fellow, who knows, but I do know that I enjoyed it. A few words or phrases in certain parts felt a little forced, as if the book could have been fine without those bits of dialogue, but nothing damaging or hindering to the story itself.

Ossmanís art, for the most part, is uniquely his own, with a few nods to some established artists. From page one to the end his style settles in as heís more comfortable with storytelling. Some panels are a bit rough, with not too much detail or consistency to them, while others get quite heavy on the gray tones. Iím presuming that the flashback sequences in the book are ink washed, and they look great (while adding to the back story of the "universe" as well).

Overall: For a first time venture in the world of comics, The Venger is an impressive book. The story, while it leaves me with a lot of curiosities (especially that ending), only serves to encourage me to check out issue #2 to see what happens. Iím interested; I want to know how things go down. Iím also looking forward to seeing how the art team develops and really sets in with this second issue. For two bucks, you canít beat it!

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