Kate (And Dan) on DEAD MAN’S RUN by Greg Pak

deadmanrun01Hey everybody, welcome back to Kate (and Dan) Read Comics! Normally, we review the “next book on the Wednesday pile,” but today we had the opportunity to step outside the realm of capes, and we bring you our special kind of review-love of DEAD MAN’S RUN by Greg Pak.

K: So this is a Greg Pak book, huh?
D: Yeah. Mr. Pak has done tons and tons of awesomeness for Marvel. He’s really the name that springs to mind for me when people talk about the HULK. Really puts out a ton of imaginative work.
K: Right. That works for me. I dig ‘splosions and fighting and such. Let’s get to the BLAMMO!
D: Settle; settle… how about a little set-up first? Our lead seems to be a little short of cash at the mini-mart. Been there before!
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K: There was a ‘splosion at the prison! Let’s blow up some sh–!
D: Hey, lady, this is a family blog.
K: Sorry. I got excited at the prospect of things blowing up. Oh, and when does the punching start? I like the part with the punching.
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K: So the prison sits on top of Hell.
D: Yup.
K: Didn’t see that one coming.
D: Nope.
K: Huh. Kinda gives new meaning to “going to the hole”. ::rimshot::
D: groan
D: Ok, so it’s clear our min-mart shopper is a tortured soul, man-with-a-past type. Whether or not he follows the Rambo/Punisher archetype remains to be seen. These kinds of characters alone don’t usually do much for me, but I’m down if the story is enough to elevate the premise.
K: Huh?
D: Brooding dudes with guns alone don’t make for exiting, compelling stories. The story needs to tell us something new, or even be an old story told a new way.
K: Then can they start shooting?
D: Yes. Then they can start shooting.
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deadmanrun02D: Prison has been described as “Hellish,” but the premise of “Prison actually BEING HELL” is such a cool idea…
K: So how come YOU didn’t think of it, smarty?
D: ‘Cause I’m not Greg Pak.
K: There is that. “Hell as prison” does lend itself to interesting plot development. I noticed the character sketches at the end of the book. It looks like the lady that gives the orders under “the pyramid” in the prison is the warden. As a woman, I think it’s a great diversion from what could be a chest thumping male book.
D: I hear that. ::pounds chest, tries out menacing stare.::
K: ::rolls eyes::
D: Our set-up takes us down into the depths of “the Pyramid,” which serves as the Hell Prison. This is the perfect time to comment on the work of artist Tony Parker. Being unfamiliar with Mr. Parker, I was very impressed with his range. From the subtle opening pages with the Captain and the old woman at the mini-mart, to the scenes of the guards literally DECENDING INTO HELL, Parker has a vast array of talent. Good stuff here.
K: Subtle, schmuttle. The scenes with the fire-demon-thingy were wicked awesome!
D: I gotta give you that one. Wicked awesome to the MAX!
::fist bump::
D: Of course, any tale taking place in Hades should also act as a morality play. Our hero meets past brother-in-arms, who give us a foreshadowing of things to come.
K: But what’s the deal with the Warden-Lady trying to keep the Captain topside? Does she expect bad stuff would happen to him? Does she know he’s “Got to pay the piper”? Does she go for the Rambo type and want to protect him? And what’s her deal anyway? Is she the villain? Is she a good guy running this part of Hell? I gotta know!
D: At this point, it’s anyone’s guess. All I know is, I totally didn’t expect the ending of this issue. Really caught me off guard.
For a comic to be successful, the reader has to have a mean case of the “I gotta’s.” I GOTTA get the next issue. I GOTTA know what happens next. I GOTTA.

With DEAD MAN’S RUN, Mr. Pak delivers the goods with expert world-building, sets the pace of the storytelling on “high,” and with the SOCK-O ending, gives the reader a brutal case of the “I GOTTA GET THE NEXT ISSUE.”

Dan and Kate Malmon are a happily married couple (except when Dan forgets to do his chores) in Roseville, MN. When not working, reading comics and mysteries or watching sports, they hang out with Franklin the dog. You can find both Kate and Dan on Twitter.