What do you get when you stick acclaimed comic book writer Greg Pak, artist Tony Parker, and legendary film and television producer Gale Ann Hurd on a project together? An amazing story of a flawed hero in the midst of a prison outbreak that is more than it seems.
Pak is a fantastic writer who manages to get the most out of his characters. His work on the Planet Hulk storyline for Marvel Comics made the Hulk interesting again after readers thought the story was being misused by other writers. Magneto: Testament delved into the past of Marvel’s resident demagogue, revealing how he came to develop his ideals through the hardships he faced during the Holocaust. If there’s one thing Pak knows, it’s character development. And in Dead Man’s Run, published by Aspen Comics, Pak gives us a character he can easily build on.
Captain Romero is flawed; we learn that right off the bat. His life is not where he would like it to be, and he is stuck working at the Andrew Jackson Federal Corrections Facility for far less than a man of his military rank should be. Though Pak doesn’t dive too deeply into Romero’s past (after all, this is only an introductory issue), readers get the idea of what kind of person he is. And Pak’s excellent writing makes readers eager for more.
By Romero isn’t the only character we get a glimpse at. The Warden, a mysterious woman who doesn’t seem entirely human, warns Romero of the dangers of the prison, and the temptations that lurk within. Given the secrets the prison holds, and her insight into Romero’s psyche, it seems that the Warden is a puppeteer, capable of pulling strings, ensuring that a plan goes her way. I’m excited to see more of her and how she fits into the history of Romero and the prison.
Tony Parker’s art is perfect for the book. His past work includes Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, based on the classic novel by Phillip K. Dick. Do Androids contained some pretty hefty tones, which Parker illustrated masterfully. Given that the preview of Dead Man’s Run predicts a similar tone and feel to Androids, it’s clear that Parker was a good choice for the book. My only complaint with the art revolves around a single scene in which Romero wears a full body suit, obscuring his features, making it unclear whether it was him or not. But this minor nit-pick aside, Dead Man’s Run is beautifully rendered.
The inclusion of Gale Ann Hurd on the project is just icing on the cake. Hurd, whose most recent role was as executive producer for the hit AMC show, The Walking Dead, helps to lend a different form of credibility to the project, helping to draw the attention of people unfamiliar with the comic book industry. While Pak and Parker are enough to sell the title to the comic book masses, Hurd has the ability to sell it to the movie and television lot.
Dead Man’s Run #0 is an excellent introduction to what is destined to be another hit for Pak. It hits stores Oct. 26. The only disappointment is that the regular series isn’t slated to begin until January of 2012, so sadly, fans will have to wait to get to the meat and bones of the story. But I’ll wait patiently for it because it’s that good.