Writer/Artist: Barry Southworth
Publisher: Liberated Eyeball Press
Chances are 99 out of 100 people reading this review (if this review gets that many readers) will not have heard of Among the Dead. About the same number will never even get their hands on it. Even the remaining one I assume will be another SBC reviewer.
As my first ever self-published comic read, Among the Dead has been a discovery of sorts. There are no snazzy graphics, no big-name artist variant cover(s) and just about everything else that one expects with any new launch these days. Even the Indies have gotten into the act, some (like Avatar Press) more so than others. Nevertheless, I read Among the Dead #1 not once but twice and the following are my thoughts about it.
At sixteen pages including the covers and twelve for the story, Among the Dead #1 makes for a rather quick read. The large panels contribute towards the same. There are no opening "build-up" pages, and right off the mark, the reader gets tossed into the deep end, right where Among the Dead's main protagonist, Nikki, is. The first panel shows Nikki trussed up in a nondescript place and surrounded by equally generic demon-types. Even if the being tied up bit is confusing, at least the demons are explained away by Nikkiís being who she is, the current squeeze of the Big-man-downstairs, Satan. The dialogue in the panel further reveals that Olí Satan is dumping her. Having found someone more to his liking (for another of his Antichrists), Satan shunts Nikki off into the proverbial corner. She is to work the bars of common demons. Thankfully, for Nikki, there is a hands, claws and paws off policy.
Relegated to stripping and that too for the riffraff, Nikki is more than a little peeved and understandably so. And in true "Hell has no fury like a woman scorned" fashion, she wants revenge; she wants her ex-boyfriend to pay for what he did to her. In that regard she sets about to gather forces to do, well, what else but knock Satan off the top seat of hell. A lighter, funnier, skinnier Lady Death anyone?
Even with its funny moments not everything is alright with Among the Dead #1. For one the artwork comes off as rough and unfinished. Even giving some leeway for being a self-published comic book, I would still say it leaves a lot of room for improvement. Similarly the writing, although both funny and fast paced, does miss the mark on depth. Had this been a #0 issue, I would have approached it differently, since #0s are semi-prologues. However, in that case this issue would lose out because it doesn't provide enough of an introduction to the characters. If anything, this comes off as a #1/2 issue, and that is exactly where I am, bullet-wise, with Among the Dead #1.
Conclusion: In the end Among the Dead #1 comes off as a printed-webcomic. Nevertheless, it shows promise and just needs some more work, both in the art and the story.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net
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