Cassie’s Aspen Comics Review: DEAD MAN’S RUN #0

In the afterlife Hell is a prison. Literally. Hidden beneath the Andrew Jackson Federal Corrections Facility is an entrance to Hell, run by a fiery eyed Warden and patrolled by rough and tumble, Captain Romero, who is about to find out the age old adage that you can’t escape death.

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This highly anticipated opener to Aspen’s new series, penned by The Incredible Hulk and World War Hulk writer Greg Pak and produced by The Walking Dead’s Gale Anne Hurd, is a must read introduction to their upcoming series. Tough guy Captain Romero is in charge of protecting the surface from the denizens of this ultimate maximum security prison, and as we learn, he takes a huge pay cut in order to hide a deep dark secret from coming to light.

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Dead Man’s Run explores the idea of Hell, inspired by Ben Roberts merely saying the phrase, “Jailbreak from Hell” to Pak. It should be interesting to see how Pak intertwines his research from Dante Alighieri’s famous epic poem, The Divine Comedy (specifically the first part, Inferno, which focuses on Hell) and his examination of prisons.

We already know that underneath the surface of the prison are areas containing levels, an allusion to the medieval belief that Hell is comprised of nine circles of suffering based on various sins (limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery). How much Pak is inspired by these elements remains to be seen, but as he mentions in his author’s note, his goal is to create a new and relevant underworld for a new generation. I for one cannot wait to see the combination of preconceived concepts of Hell, and the new ones Pak created.

Up and comer Tony Parker does a great job depicting the Hellscape, but I can’t help but be put in mind of Bruce Willis whenever he draws Captain Romero. Despite this I’m curious to see how he depicts scenes of torture and punishment, after all, this is Hell and in this issue you get a teeny tiny sneak peak at the violence to come. Also excited to see the evolution of the beautifully devious warden, who Parker draws as a pale beauty with flaming eyes.

There is so much promise in this issue alone that I cannot contain my excitement for what is to come!

As a ground level issue, Dead Man’s Run #0 features an incredibly strong introduction to this brand-new Aspen Comics series, and contains sneak peaks at the cover of issue one and Parker’s character concept designs. Be on the lookout for Dead Man’s Run #1, set for release in January 2012.

Story: Greg Pak
Art: Tony Parker
Cover A: Tony Parker and Peter Steigerwald
Cover B: Micah Gunnell and Peter Steigerwald
Cover C (NYCC Exclusive): Tony Parker and Peter Steigerwald
32 Pages/FC
$2.50
On Sale October 26, 2011!

4-5 Stars