Zenescope Entertainment 2016
Written by Joe Brusha
Illustrated by Marc Rosete
Coloured by Walter Pereyra
Lettered by Fabio Amelia
Death Force and Missy barely escape from talon in his transformed Black Dragon form as he lays waste to a parking garage. Soon after, they come across an unexpected ally in the form of Murphy’s old partner, Officer Roberts. Equipped with the knowledge of talon’s plan, the team rushes to stop a terrorist attack, only to have Missy sacrifice herself to save hundreds.
There’s something about the origin story here and his look that doesn’t work for me still. I mean that helmet that looks like a skull with that triangle on his chest it’s very Jason Vorhees meets the Punisher with some Ghost Rider thrown in. It doesn’t come across as menacing or frightening and all that blood, which should have been washed off after diving in to rescue Missy, on that mask just seems like an afterthought.
At least the writing here is getting better. The allure of those two watching Murphy is growing and that they are using him for their own purposes, which we all know he’ll end up doing his own thing and end up at odds with them. Joe’s not a strong enough writer to hide his intentions in the story. There are aspects however that are a nice surprise and that’s what happens with Missy here.
Unfortunately with Officer Roberts why did that have to happen? He’s already fighting the Black Dragon and he didn’t need more motivation or the death of his friend. He lost his wife already and she’s been back in his head to remind him what he’s about and what to fight for so why kill off a potentially good supporting cast member for him?
While I don’t like Murphy’s look I do like the work Marc does here. His use of page layouts through angles, perspective and even some backgrounds do a nice job with the flow of the story. When he becomes the Dragon he looks awesome and that kind of creativity and imagination is what I love to see. Plus that skeletal man and the Voodoo Priestess in hell look really good too and they come across like a pair of baddies that could end being a nice thorn in the side for some time to come.
Murphy has already proven there’s more to him than meets the eye and what he does this issue in defeating the Black Dragon, just defeating, well that was pretty nice to see. I get why what we’re getting next and I look forward to seeing how he establishes his independence from those two. I like the potential I see here and there are marked signs of improvement in Joe’s storytelling, though he still has room to grow more. I don’t know how he fits into the grand scheme of the Zenescope Universe or if he’s supposed to but we’ll see.
Does comics need another hell powered hero of vengeance? Maybe not but it’s all about how the character’s handled that makes the difference, i’d love to see what could done with someone who could unleash his full potential.