Death Sentence

Death Sentence
Death Sentence graphic novel review
  • UK publisher / ISBN: Titan Books - 978-1-7827-6008-5
  • Volume No.: 1
  • Release date: 2014
  • UPC: 9781782760085
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

For most of us Sex Sells. If that’s not you and you’re easily shocked or offended, stop Right Here, Right Now.

As for the salacious, tawdry, vulgar rest of humanity, however, fornication is a force that cannot be resisted and we’re always gagging for it.

One outrageous potential result of that inescapable biological imperative is examined and scathingly lampooned in a dark and decadent fable from scripter, artist and games designer Monty Nero and sublime illustrator Mike Dowling.

Death Sentence begins with frustrated artist Verity Fette getting some very distressing news in a Camden doctor’s surgery. She’s just been diagnosed with G+: a new, universally fatal sexually transmitted disease that has a rather peculiar side-effect. Although this STI kills in six months, for the length of that time the victim “suffers” from increased vigour, stamina, sex drive and even develops some form of super power.

Over in Primrose Hill, disgraced, shambolic and rapidly fading rock star Daniel Waissel AKA Weasel awakes from another unspecified period of debauched excess and tries to make sense of what his A&R man Russ is saying. Apparently having G+ might be the only thing to revive his failing career and, if his power is music-related, perhaps he can still get all six of the albums he’s contracted for finished before he joins all the other dead legends going out in a blaze of lucrative glory.

Whilst Verity is quitting her meaningless job, over the river in a South Bank TV studio comedian, media darling, affirmed libertine and G+ carrier David “Monty” Montgomery is charmingly, charismatically, shockingly titillating the nation again. He vows his final months on Earth won’t alter his pleasure-seeking behaviour or sensuous attitudes.

Later, Weasel’s powers at last manifest when a couple of irate drug dealers turn up, wanting payment for the prodigious amount of pharmaceuticals the creatively blocked musician has consumed, but neither he nor the other two G+ sufferers are aware that a shady government agency is keeping tabs on them.

From there Nero takes his cast and us to a secret base on a Scottish island, Buckingham Palace, though a military ambush, a new monarch and rogue research, all the while unleashing carnal debauchery gleefully illustrated by Dowling.

Each chapter of the seductively apocalyptic tale is bolstered by a series of faux news articles and public service features ranging from ‘Pop goes the Weasel’ to a medical advice website page for potential G+ sufferers. This lewdly lavish hardback also includes a fifteen-strong covers gallery, a fulsome, informative and frequently hilarious ‘Death Sentence Commentary’ from Nero and Dowling, and more.

Bold, slick, immensely engrossing and intoxicatingly enjoyable, Death Sentence is a black, uproarious fairytale for adults that blends superhero tropes with outrageous cheek, deliriously shocking situations and in-your-face irreverence. It results in a notable and unmissable tale.

Buy it, read it and spread it around to everyone. Death Sentence: London is a sequel.