“When the man comes around”

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For some reason growing up I despised everything western. Don’t know if it was the cheesy dialogue, lame getups, or having to sit through the Searchers in film class while Matthew and I pointed out all the stereotypes present. In the last several years, I’ve come to appreciate the Man with No Name, the Seven Samurai Magnificent Seven, Once Upon a Time in the West, and even some of the more recent looks at the genre, like the awesome HBO series Deadwood. So when I was sent a preview of Death and the Man That Would Not Die, I was excited and gun shy at the same time.

First, I haven’t read the first series that introduced Death as a skeletal man riding a horse across the west, but after the first couple of pages, it won’t matter, you’ll know everything you need to know.

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deathandthemancover.jpgAnd with that the issue is off and running. As expected Josiah doesn’t die and to the surprise of everyone in the bar, doesn’t even have a scratch on him. He, in turn, obliterates everyone in bullet distance. No, he’s not some Terminator from the future, but the Man that Would Not Die.

And how is it he won’t die? Seems he has stolen a watch that counts down the remainder of one’s life, and if you keep the watch going, you won’t die. This is an awesome premise of life and death, and caused me to flash back to many many Twilight Zone episodes dealing with the same theme.

When Death finally arrives on the scene, the town has gone crazy murdering anyone who had contact or assisted Josiah, and no one is too happy about seeing the rider on his pale horse, as they blame Death for allowing Josiah to live. If only they knew the whole story…

I really like the art in this issue; it is a combination of fast and furious pencil work, combined with a painterly look that reminds me a lot of the Dark Tower series. Death looks pretty bad-ass too, with a gun attached to a missing arm, he looks like a cross between Ash and Clint Eastwood.

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By the end of the issue, Death ends up giving Josiah’s partner a 48-hour reprieve from death if he helps him track the man who stole his watch (and presumably shot his arm off too). A majority of the issue is narrated by Josiah’s partner and with every panel, the only voice in my head that is appropriate for this tale is that of Johnny Cash.

The action moves along quickly in this issue, and I won’t give away all the plot points, but let’s just say there is a great High Noon type shootout, lots of “hanguns”, and the start of a really great story set in the badlands of the old west.

The Good

  • The art by Se7enhedd with colors by JM Ringuet
  • The story by James Patrick
  • A one armed gun slinging Death

The Bad

  • Issue too short
  • Probably understand the issue better by reading the first mini-series

This four issue mini-series is set up very well and if the action and story continue to build, this is going to be one kick-ass series you don’t want to miss. Granted, you might get more out of the back story if you’ve read the previous series, but even without, I think you’ll love this series. Because this issue encompasses everything I now like about Westerns I’m going to give Death and the Man Who Would Not Die 5 out of 5 Stars.

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Death and the Man That Would Not Die is available this month from Silent Devil for $2.99.

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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2 Comments

  1. June 11, 2007 at 2:35 pm — Reply

    …So why is it no-one will accept Blade when he got himself a gun-hand? Is he gonna gave to strip away all of his flesh too?

  2. June 11, 2007 at 2:43 pm — Reply

    Because Blade only kills the undead, while Death kills everything – eventually…

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