If you only had five days left to live, would you spend it moping around the house, our would you go out with a bang, hunting down those who killed you? For Ray Crisara the answer is pretty simple, and he’s got to do it quickly.
I’VE GOT SOME BAD NEWS…
Ray Crisara doesn’t know how to deal with his family. As a police officer, his obsession with Hoverman – the big boss of this story – has driven a wedge in his home life, and if he doesn’t figure something out, divorce and the estrangement of his daughter will be the result. It’s all set up logically by Andy Schmidt in the opening pages, and it really does look like Ray and his wife Debra are going to wind up in court, and it all seems rather depressing until a semi-truck slams into their car.
When Ray wakes up in the hospital, he learns his wife and daughter are both in surgery, and due to the nature of his injury, Ray only has five days to live at most. Convinced Hoverman is behind the assault, Ray takes off to find his nemesis and bring some closure to his involvement with his foe before his time is up. While I like the premise set up by Schmidt in this story, there is a huge leap in story and plot that occurs when Ray connects what could very easily be seen as a simple, yet tragic, traffic accident, with a plot to kill him and his family. Schmidt tries to sell the idea by having a mysterious shadowed figure standing over Ray’s bed when he first comes around, and until Ray said it was a minion of Hoverman, a reader could easily see that figure as a ghost, an orderly going to get help, or a fading figment of Ray’s trauma. It’s a hard sell, and one I don’t think Schmidt sold well in this first issue. If the reader is willing to accept that jump in story logic, then everything reads fine, but for me, I found the later half of the issue rather forced.
As a movie, 5 Days to Die has Bruce Willis written all over it. It is a revenge driven story, but also one of discovering what matters most to the central character. Ray’s wife ends up dying, and his daughter is in intensive care, which means Ray needs to make peace with the remainder of his family before he dies too, or spend what little time he has left hunting down a criminal.
I rarely read notes from the author when reading comic books, but for some reason, the story Schmidt adds at the end of this issue is a must read. Schmidt reveals what drives Ray, gives some personal history on why he wrote the story, and what he hopes to achieve with the series. It is a must read for anyone who picks up this first issue, and actually ends up helping the story overall.
WE SHALL CALL HIM, CHEE
I don’t know who Chee is, but his style works very well in this book. For most of the issue, he works in muted tones of gray and blue, but when the violence cranks up to eleven, the pages and panels are suddenly filled with intense reds. There are times when other colors appear, and they seem to relate directly to the intensity of the action in the panel. It’s an interesting way to enhance the story, and it works well in this particular issue. As far as the regular art goes, I’ve started to see a style appear in titles from companies like IDW and BOOM! Studios. It’s a look that sets books from these publishers apart from the big two, is easily recognizable, and because it doesn’t conform to what most people consider comic book art, it tells readers that they are about to experience something different. Chee does his job and does it quite well here, though similarity in stile might have readers confusing his work with others.
BOTTOM LINE: WORTH IT
5 Days to Die is scheduled to run the entire month of September – five weeks, five issues. I was going to give this issue a pass simply because on the surface it didn’t look like something that would keep my interest for long. With a one month schedule, I don’t have to worry about remembering what happened before, I don’t have to but a great deal of investment in tracking down the issues, and after reading this first issue, I have to say this book is worth checking out. The story jump from accident to conspiracy bothers me some, but if it is the trigger to get the character moving and motivated, I’ll go along with it. 5 Days to Die is a decent read and earns 3.5 out of 5 Stars.