Review: Dark Horse Comics’ “Death Head # 1”

July 22, 2015

Written by Capt McNeely

Georgia Division ZADF Twitter: @ZADF_ORG


The premier issue of this comic follows the members of the Burton family in three different plotlines.

The first part revolves around Niles and Justine Burton. They are an expectant couple who are going for a weekend camping trip in a National Park for their “babymoon”. They have decided that they need time to bond and unwind before the arrival of their new baby. Instead they find an abandoned town full of moths, with a creepy crematorium, and sinister secrets.

The second storyline follows their daughter Maggie who is attending a Catholic school, although she is far from saintly. She has a problem with authority, attending school, following the rules, and no faith in God at all as it turns out. However, she does have a spiritual awakening of sorts with the help of some shrooms she got from the girl she is in love with.

The third and final feature follows their son named Bee who is being bullied by a kid who apparently compensates for his stuttering by shoving other kids into sewers. While trying to escape the sewer, Bee encounters a young girl named Rosie who may not be what she seems.

This section is the most intriguing to me as it tells of a legend of a boogeyman-like character who lures and then kills children every year around Halloween. We also find out that the entity behind the circumstances at the crematorium and the aforementioned man in the sewers is a dark figure dressed like a Plague Doctor.

There are horror themes and tropes aplenty in this inaugural issue and they hit the mark. I love the artwork and the writing but the non-linear narrative makes it hard to follow at times. That is because the transitioning from one story to the next isn’t executed very well.

I don’t want to say that it was disorganized because clearly a lot of research and thought went into it. It just felt rushed and/or busy. There are questions left unanswered and not a lot of tension or suspense at all. They just tried to fit in too much too soon.

Overall there is so much more that the comic gets right then wrong and the artwork is immaculate.  I am going to have to wait until the second issue drops before I make a judgment call on this one because Dark Horse Comics  have been hitting it out of the park with their horror titles lately.

I would recommend picking up this comic because other than the few failings I mentioned it really is worthy of your time. However, I should probably also mention that I am seriously obsessed with historical literature on Plague Doctors.

Death Head # 1 is written and created by brothers Zack and Nick Keller. It features the artwork of Joanna Estep with the coloring done by Kelly Fitzpatrick and lettering by John J. Hill. The cover is the work of E. M. Gist. It debuted on July 15th 2015 and the second issue is set to come out on August 19th.

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