"The Berzerk Death Dealer #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Death Punk Comix
Written by Vishal Rajput
Illustrated by Ashlee Galloway
2016, 66 Pages
Welcome to Gothic Town, a city of grime and debauchery that would make Gotham blush. Citizens commit heinous acts in the streets or enjoy maiming each other at BDSM clubs. It's just like Disney World, really. Diablo is the top assassin for the Demon Clan and it's time to go to work. He hops on his trusty dog / motorcycle Rockabella and rides off to cause mayhem and rain death from above.
The Berzerk Death Dealer does little to introduce the world of Gothic Town, explain what the Demon Clan is, or establish Diablo as a character. It dives right into the eXXXtreme action and does not stop for a single moment. Even the gutters between the panels are made of chains. Move over, Spawn. Here comes Diablo.
This is a visually intriguing book, with a style that's very reminiscent of anime in both the design of the characters and the layout of each page. There are many sequences where artist Ashlee Galloway focuses entire panels on single details, such as a gun being holstered. This is hit-or-miss within The Berzerk Death Dealer, as some things that should have been given more page time (such as the transformation of Rockabella from a dog into a motorcycle) are not explained well.
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If you put everything an eighth grader thought was cool into a blender, Diablo is what would come out. He's covered in nonsensical tattoos including a pair of horns just below his belly button. He has a soul patch, a scruff of facial hair on his chin, and a ridiculous mustache that would make Snidely Whiplash blush. His belt is made of bullets. There are chains around his boots and unnecessary straps around his legs. When it's time to go to work, Diablo dons a high-necked trench coat featuring even more straps, then throws a “scythe guitar” on his back and grabs his matching pistols each branded with the word “Death” on the barrels and “Punk” on the grips. I'm legitimately surprised he didn't down a can of Mountain Dew before hopping on Rockabella.
Diablo's dialogue is not much better. An actual quote from him to the reader is, “Time for these bitches to get an explosion from my boom boner.” He follows that up with an explanation that clarifies that he did not mean the one in his pants, but a separate piece of weaponry that he also calls “boom boner.” The next panel features a large bomb with the words spray-painted on the side of it.
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The action once Diablo gets to his target is the highlight of the book. Again, it's similar in style to anime, so the battle provides the same sort of vibe. You've got two people yelling at each other for a few minutes before launching an all-out brawl. One of them even transforms into a large monster first. The gore that follows is absolutely brutal.
The Berzerk Death Dealer can be summed up succinctly as “all style, no substance.” You are thrown into this strange and dangerous world filled with possibility. Your guide through it is an immature pirate biker who's prone to flipping the bird for no apparent reason. The book began as a film project from creator Vishal Rajput and was then adapted to the comic format. From the looks of the information online about it, there is a lot more fleshed out in terms of story and character development, so I'm not sure why that was not included in the comic.