It was in 1992 when 7 popular comic artist (Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Jim Valentino & Whilce Portacio) form Image Comics. In 1993, a new imprint called Darker Image show casing what they call a darker side of heroes with an anthology of three stories in a single issue featuring Sam Keith's Maxx, Jim Lee's Deathblow and Rob Liefeld's Bloodwulf. It was intended to be a 4 issue mini-series... but only the first was released and no more.
During a book sale, I found a copy of Deathblow deluxe edition for a very good price and I remembered more than 2 decades ago, I had mixed feelings about it after I read all 12 issues. Now, re-reading this edition not only brings out the good old days but also, what I finally understood the feelings then I go through that now I realize how badly written this comic turn out to be.
Deathblow is Michael Cray, a Team 7 soldier that is dying of cancer. On a mission to kill a dictator in Costa Mesa, he stumbles upon some thing supernatural and later in Baghdad, a similar occurrence happened but he killed a priest in the process. As the story flows, the whole story became biblical with words like armageddon, the release of Prince of Darkness, Black Angel, demons and four horsemen of apocalypse and every thing else from a military kind of story turns into a supernatural end of the world tale. I do have a big problem with such a change and in many ways, here's my complain.
The story is terrible. There's nothing really interesting when it comes to the plot itself. I had watched and read many stories about armageddon and this is probably one that feels like a fan boy trying very hard writing such a story. The dialogue is horrible. Its hard not to laugh it out and not easy to accept it that it feels forced when I read the exchange of words between the characters. And then of course, there is the style of writing - I just feel like maybe its paying a homage to Frank Miller's style of writing but trying too hard to copy that style. I feel so disappointed when I found out its written by Brandon Choi that this is not his best. Its laughable how terrible the execution and structure turns out to be that I just bear with it as I read it.
The art on the other hand for the first few pages is done by Jim Lee and a style seriously, again, trying to be like Frank Miller's Sin City. I mean, if this is another artist, I can say its a terrible copy. Although I love Jim Lee, this doesn't do too well in it. When Tim Sale took over the penciling chores, I feel this is not his best at all. There are moments where the eye can sustain the joy of looking but some times, it doesn't at all.
Deathblow is a mess. Its a mess trying to wow young comic readers for the art, not the story. For me, although its terrible, it does have some certain quality love towards it if I overlook the flaws (too many) of this book. For a cheap hardcover edition I paid for that doesn't cost a lot, I can say the price I paid that is cheap, is worth the price of the comic.