He travels across a wasteland, his ax and motorcycle his only comfort. In the quest to find his wife, he will face down against the leaders of the ruling cult and all the followers they command. His name is Rider and he where he rides, death follows. But does even he know of the Death Orb? Will he live to find out? Death Orb #1 from Dark Horse Comics comes out October 3rd!
Writer: Ryan Ferrier
Artist: Alejandro Aragon
Colors: Chris O’Halloran
Letters: Ryan Ferrier
Cover: Alejandro Aragon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: October 3, 2018
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Death Orb: War has turned North America into an apocalyptic wasteland. Rider lives there, and is on a mission to find his pregnant wife who has been abducted by The Lords. But even as he had been hunting his wife’s abductors, The Lords’ henchmen have been hunting him, and now they’ve found him.
A DARK RIDER ACROSS A WILD, WILD WASTE
At a biker bar out in the waste, the followers of The Lords have successfully tracked down their quarry. They enter the bar to a scene of carnage with Rider standing in the wreckage, his ax stained with the blood of a room full of men. Even as the bartender, a witness to the battle, holds a shotgun on him, dead bang range, it is clear that this was no average barroom brawl. The dark leader of the hunters advances, his eyes bandaged, telling the outnumbered Rider that his time is up. Uncovering the hollow sockets he calls eyes, he beckons Rider to look.
Images of The Lord, a city in the waste, a massive machine thing, and of a woman captured fill Rider’s brain. Pressing the advantage, the eye-less man attacks, as do his followers. The battle is brutal and brief, with Rider the last man standing. Later, Rider looks out over what may have been the apocalyptic city from his vision, his only companion the head of the eyeless man. There is a hospital below, and what better place to search for a pregnant woman.
Elsewhere, The Father and his followers are working on their creation, the Death Orb, intent on using it to bring about a re-birth of humanity. But what is the true nature of the Death Orb, and what could it do with one man’s wife and unborn child.
AN APOCALYPTIC STORY WITH A MANGA INFLUENCED FEEL
Creators Alejandro Aragon (28 Days Later, Deadlands: The Kid) and Ryan Ferrier (D4VE, Lucha Underground) have taken the genre of apocalyptic future and blended it with a dash of manga and just a touch of western. The protagonist of the series, Rider, is cut from the cloth of heroes such as Mad Max and The Man with No Name, and his setting seems a bit inspired by the Badlands of Vash the Stampede and the Borderland series of video games.
Ryan Ferrier presents Rider with a singular purpose, locating his abducted family, and gives him a laser intensity to achieve that goal no matter what carnage he must serve to those who get in his way. On the flip side, the leader of the cult, The Father, has a mission of his own, one which seems to have drawn in those close to Rider. Father is portrayed as dark lord type of cultist, presumably using fear and violence to force his followers to submit.
Alejandro Aragon’s art perfectly conveys a sense of dark and dismal future. Everything seems to look as if it has been scraped together after having been run through a blast furnace. The landscapes look barren and the overall feel of the cities is one of decay. His fight scenes are when you get the strongest sense of the manga influence, as they are heavily stylized and have a sense of speed. His character designs are nice, mixing modern pre-futuristic chic with wasteland vogue.
BOTTOM LINE: IT MIGHT NOT SET THE WORLD ON FIRE, BUT THE STORY HAS SPARK.
I enjoyed Death Orb #1 the way you enjoy a tub of popcorn: You pretty much know what you are going to get no matter what flavors you add to it. On one hand, there is not much information about the world, its structure, or how it came to be the way it is. On the other hand, you have much more information regarding Rider and his mission than may have been necessary to tell the story to this point. You are thrown into the action quickly, but it feels like there are a few sequences which seem to be included in order to say, “Ok, that was addressed, lets move on.”
The story has a fun factor. It is familiar and that familiarity lets the reader fill in the blanks on spots where it may feel a little sparse to some. I tend to think of what sort of music would be cool to listen to when reading different books, and in this case, I could hear Ennio Morricone and Man or Astro-Man swapping out between the action and lulls. It’s a fun title that could turn out to be more depending on how the next few issues are presented.
DEATH ORB #1 is a solid issue with a few flaws, but those flaws can be overlooked in the quest of cool. A mash of a few different genres, it has enough to keep you wondering about how the story got to where it is and how it will turn out, while keeping you entertained along the trip.