REVIEW: Black Suit Of Death
Review By- Silent-P
The world is in crisis….let’s generate power by culling the population! Sound like a good idea? Then Black Suit of Death will be right up your street.
From a quick flick through I was expecting a full on horror story but what I got was a pleasant surprise. This comic manages to deliver horrific concepts and outrageous violence, planting the whole story in a dystopian sci-fi adventure with plenty of subtle comedy along the way.
On doomed planet Utopia IX, the high council are desperately seeking a solution to their population and energy crises, putting their faith in pioneering scientist Dr Seitsan. Unbeknownst to the council, Seitsan is a delusional madman with some innovative but terrifying ideas of how to save the planet. The rather close to home idea of a planet running out of resources while the population increases, makes for a great premise. There is a distinct feeling of dread and desperation throughout the book which is easy to relate to given the current state of the global economy and environment. Add to that the despicable concept of killing citizens and recycling them into usable energy and you have an excellent foundation for a Soilent Green-esque opus.
Seitsan’s Black Suit of Death is a digital Grim Reaper, taking over whoever wears it and turning them into the judge, jury and executioner of Utopia IX. Once donned, the wearer can gather energy from every citizen it slays, with the best intentions of saving the planet in mind, of course. The suit, however, is flawed, and it is Seitsan who bears the brunt of this when defeated in battle during its debut outing. Biologically fused with his own suit, Dr Seitsan is banished to, of all disgusting rocks, Earth. Here, he is awoken to begin his reign of terror again. The book ends here, with the cliff hanger of what will Seitsan do next. It’s unclear what direction this could take; Seitsan could become a sci-fi Jason Voorhees style character, resurrected by some hapless character after each defeat, but I feel there is much more on the cards for this nasty anti-hero.
The art is exciting, with a dynamic sketchy feel incorporating stark black inks and well thought out backdrops. The style is reminiscent of John McCrea’s work on Lobo and The Demon in the nineties and I’m sure any 2000AD fan would also find it pleasing to behold. The comic is digitally lettered and this works better in some places than in others. It was a nice touch to have each character with their own font and this really helps to keep the dialogue understandable during some of the more darkly coloured scenes. There are fantastically gory scenes of violence as the Black Suit of Death first springs into action. Killing the council member and harvesting their energy is a riotously bloody affair with some entertaining kills in the massive death toll.
My main criticism for BSD is that which is often present with opening issues – there’s not enough to really get into at this stage. The book is majorly taken up with the opening scene and there isn’t much background to Seitsan yet. However, unlike some first issues, we are left with an ending that doesn’t leave the reader with hoards of questions. Since indie comics are not produced at the pace of the big two, it can be frustrating to have to wait up to a year for the next instalment, which can take the edge of the initial excitement you felt on the first read. Black Suit of Death gives you no expectations of an immediately following story and could be considered to wrap up quite nicely as a standalone one shot.
There is a great write up from the creators in the back of the book, detailing the long 80’s horror inspired history of its production. It’s something that is really nice to see in a small press comic. There are often laments about other books and creatives, but Black Suit of Death appears to have been born from a desire to create a horror movie, with the final product ending up as a bloodthirsty and highly entertaining comic book.
If you can get your hands on a copy of Black Suit of Death it is definitely well worth a read. Bloody horror, an anarchic antagonist and some cheeky comedy which brought to mind Profits of Doom from Madius Comics, all add up to a comic with a lot of potential and a raucously enjoyable read.