Top Cow Productions/Image Comics 2017
Written by Matt Hawkins & Jason Ning
Illustrated by Darick Robertson
Coloured by Diego Rodriguez
Lettered by Simon Bowland
This is a one shot but here’s hoping that the guys have plans for the future to make Dante’s ongoing story a reality. The writing here is crisp, clean and sharp plus the characterisation is dynamic. The whole premise behind Dante, who he is, what he does and the result of the life he leads is well told in this oversized issue. It’s a somewhat familiar story with a great twist and it’s the kind of character evolution that as a reader I really enjoy seeing.
Dante is a hitman and he wants out. He’s got a wife and little girl and has decided that it’s time for him to leave that work behind and be with his family. The organisation that he works for however has other ideas. It would seem his retirement is something they are willing to go for but not in the way Dante expects. Once you're in you're in for life and with the sheer amount of volume he’s done for them he knows too much to let go.
As much time as is spent on getting to know Dante it would be a terrible shame for us not to continue seeing some one-shots throughout the years to see him continue to evolve and grow as a man. Also I have to say he’s a great character, once he did his first kill he discovered it was something he enjoyed doing and that kind of unapologetic look at him is great. There are some people who love what they do and Dante is among them. It’s also nice to see how priorities can change over time. His life is compartmentalised in ways that make sense considering what he does but even someone with his skills and ties can be tripped up.
When the life changing event takes place, one that you’ll have to see, his world is turned upside down. A curse is placed upon him and he wakes up covered in tattoo’s. Each one represents a kill or a wrong he’s done to others. I like the supernatural take on actions have consequences here. It adds a whole new flair and sense of style to the story.
Darick’s incredible interiors here really shine. His eye for visual storytelling really is amazing to see through the use of page layouts, angles and those backgrounds. When the curse hits Dante his whole look changes and the attention to detail which throughout is splendid goes to new heights as we see those tattoo’s. Diego’s colouring here is spectacular as well as he masterfully finishes off Darick’s work.
Honestly this is the kind of story that would make an excellent television series. Starting off with two hour movie premiere and then going on to an hour long weekly episodic show. It has everything we love to see, action, adventure, love and the forced look for redemption. There’s a moment when Dante wakes up realises his life has changed and things swirl through his mind. The need for revenge against what happened to him, the search for his family as well as what that old woman did to him. With no deadline and a new mission to clear up his skin can Dante fix his life and secure his future and come out of it a better man? Maybe we’ll find out but in the meantime this is the beginning of something special.