"Death Force #6" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Zenescope Entertainment
Written by Joe Brusha
Illustrated by Marc Rosete
Colored by Walter Pereyra
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on November 16th, 2016
You'd think after being horrifically murdered, coming back from the dead, avenging his own death and that of his wife, killing a slew of corrupt cops, defeating a literal dragon and bringing a friend back to life, Rick Murphy would catch a break. Nope. Now he's got to deal with Death himself. See, Rick got to come back to the land of the living and gained some supernatural powers so long as he ran an errand for Death. Rick renegged on the deal and now Death is pissed. Get ready for a battle in the fiery pits of Hell as Death Force rockets towards its conclusion.
Rick is a man of few words. He prefers to have his actions speak for him. He actually doesn't utter a single word until 2/3 of the way through the book. Throughout that time, he's battled a giant snake, and his buddy he brought back to life has been summoned to Hell. It's only then that he decides to pipe up, telling Death to let her go. It's OK for the cloaked skeleton to sick a big ass snake on him, but zapping a friend to the underworld is where he draws the line.
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The battles continue with Rick fighting a voodoo priestess, an ugly harpy, some menacing mermaids, and a handful of tentacles. Artist Marc Rosete's designs for these evil beings are pretty incredible. Each is more terrifying than the last. This is like the most epic dungeon crawl you've ever seen.
The design for Rick (or should I call him Death Force? He's never actually called that in the book.) is also suitably bad ass. He's like a soldier version of Ghost Rider, but instead of a flaming skull, he's got a skull-shaped helmet. Blood is splattered across the front. There's also skeletal face made of blood stamped on his chest.
It's easy to compare Death Force to Ghost Rider or Spawn in terms of origin. He's a good guy that makes a deal with the devil (in this case Death) to come back to life and right some wrongs, ultimately betraying the evildoer and breaking free from its control. That's where the similarities end though, as Death Force's powers are rather vague. He's seemingly invincible and he has some sort of spirit powers that can breathe life into people. At one point in this issue, he flexes really hard and blows up a demon. He doesn't even let out a grunt or yell. He just pushes his pecks out and bam.
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The ending of the issue (which, I'll remind you, is also the end of the mini-series) is very rushed. So much so that even the characters seem confused as to how quickly it ended and how exactly it all happened in the first place. They have no clear cut answers as to what just transpired, but the door is left wide open for a sequel series, as Death and the aforementioned dragon are still out there ready to wreak havoc.
Death Force is a poor man's Ghost Rider. It has the makings of something interesting, but it's poorly defined and fails in the execution. Marc Rosete's artwork is the saving grace and since most of the scenes with the title character (again, I'm not sure if I should even call him that because no one actually does so) are without dialogue, so you can fill in your own ideas as to what's going on. It's a slugfest in Hell with all sorts of monsters and Death himself watching over everything. Aside from bringing Rick's friend down, he does nothing but talk the entire time, so he's not all that intimidating as a Big Bad.