If you like classic horror story telling, then Death Head is the graphic novel for you. This story is full of rich storytelling, elements of classic horror, and a pinch of greek tragedy. I’ve always enjoyed stories that involve masked monsters in the woods, and Death Head brings this to life. As Niles and Justine go to the woods for a honeymoon like excursion, their lives are forever altered by a mysterious ghost town, and a mask.
The story is brought to us by Zack Keller and Nick Keller. The Kellers spin a web of words that create a rich and complex world for the reader to get immersed in. Each of the characters are not only given strong development, but they are done in a way in which you form an emotional tie to them. Even the supporting characters are assembled in a way where they don’t feel dull, and they don’t just feel like a prop that is occupying a space on the panel. From a stuttering school bully, to a teenage romantic interest, each of these characters help to build upon the foundation of the major characters of Death Head.
The attention to detail in regards to the supporting characters adds depth to the story. Without these supporting characters I don’t think the Kellers would have been able to create such a wonderful world. Other writers should take note, and learn how to better use supporting characters in a way that enriches their stories.
There was one minor issue with the writing. The pacing of the story and dialog felt a little rushed. The book could have stood for another chapter at least and not suffer from quality issues. There was just more information I wanted to know about from the origins of the masks to the doctors. But to be fair, it’s nice sometimes to just have the aura of mystery stay with you after you read a good book. You might get all the answers, but you are left wanting more, and the Kellers do an excellent job of leaving the reader wanting more.
Death Head is drawn by Joanna Estep and colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick. One thing that I enjoyed from the artistic standpoint was how vivid the world felt. Every detail of each character was well done. It wasn’t over drawn, nor did it feel like the drawings were trying to scream for attention. It felt like Joanna reached into the minds of the Kellers to create a world that did nothing but compliment the story as a whole. Kelly Fitzpatrick skills provide a style of coloring, which helps to sharpen the world of the characters. The skin tones of each of the characters felt real, as well as the general world itself.
The color wasn’t overdone, nor was it brighter than it should have been, with that in mind the colors brought a coldness to the story. You might ask, what are you saying coldness? Well, I mean that the entire color tone of Death Head felt like a classic horror movie. Think about a movie shot in a blue filter, it was kind of like that. Joanna, creates an environment that feels eerily familiar and yet mysterious, while Kelly fills in these environments with color that doesn’t overtake the eyes, but is still rich enough to stand out to the reader.
Death Head was a blast to read. I’m a fan of horror in general, but I believe just about any comic book fan would enjoy this. Zack and Nick Keller both do an excellent job of storytelling, and immersing the reader into the comic. Joanna’s art is on point, and Kelly Fitzpatrick’s coloring talents sets a wonderful tone throughout the entire comic. Deathead is fun, exciting, and best of all, done well. If you’re looking for something to read, I highly recommend grabbing a copy for yourself.
- The writing is solid, sound, and enjoyable
- The art feels real, and yet unreal. It creates an eerie sense to the story, which in turn allows the reader to immerse easier
- The story does a good job of using elements of classic horror, greek tragedy, and rich storytelling
- The story feels a little rushed at the end, which leaves you with some pretty important questions.