The season of frights is upon Dynamite, and everyone gets caught up in the occult madness.  Your Major Spoilers review of Die!Namite #1 from Dynamite Entertainment awaits!


Writer: Declan Shalvey & Fred Van Lente
Artist: Vincenzo Carratu & Justin Mason
Colorist: Kike J. Diaz
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane Elhaou
Editor: Nate Cosby
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 14, 2020

Previously in Die!NamiteVampirella hurtles through space on a Drakulon ship, desperate to uncover a dark mystery…  A 100-year-old John Carter of Mars grasps for an awful memory just out of reach…  Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt battles waves of evil he does not understand…  Red Sonja is faced with an impossible choice…


This issue opens with an eerie red word balloon speaking of a coming plague, a sickness that grows from a universe that can absorb no more evil.  In a retirement home, John Carter scans the skies, looking for a particular red planet in the heavens.  When he sees Mars, he is once again transported (and more importantly, once again young) on the sands of Barsoom, seeking his Dejah.  In deeper space, a really cool-looking space freighter approaches planet Drakulon, bearing an important passenger, the Drakulonian ambassador Vampirella.  In the Hyborian Age, Red Sonja seeks a mysterious cult and their rumored treasures, only to find them holed up in an alien temple.  In the mountains of probably-Tibet, a young Peter Cannon (whose teacher, the Red Lama, is the one who has been narrating it all) finishes his training and becomes The Thunderbolt at last.  Each of the heroes finds themselves face to face with hordes of the undead, with a particularly nasty variant affecting Carter.


This issue is all setup, and rightfully so, given the fact that we’re dealing with four different timelines and realities, and at least three planets, but it is a bit disappointing that the solicitation copy tells readers almost exactly what happens in the issue.  They didn’t give away that Vampirella’s ship is now diverted to Mars, nor did the last-page reveal of Smiley The Psychotic Button get spoilered…  before that sentence, anyway.  The possible addition of Chaos! properties like Evil Ernie makes perfect sense in a big Halloween crossover, but it also makes me wonder if there are more characters on their way in upcoming issues.  Given Dynamite’s wide range of licensed and in-house properties, there are still a few folks who might be able to turn up.  Even with the story feeling like it’s all prologue, I enjoy the setup, and the art really adds to the proceedings.  Peter Cannon looks really great in these pages, and the scenes of Red Sonja taking up her axe against undead foes are quite impressive as well, as is the terrifying reveal of what happens to Carter’s body while his mind/soul/whatever is on Barsoom.


In short, Die!Namite #1 does a pretty good job of pulling together a lot of threads into an interesting prologue, with some lovely art and a workable premise that offsets yet another zombie apocalypse plotline, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I kind of hope that we’ll see Evil Ernie or some of the other Chaos! folks as we move on, but even if we don’t, this issue sets up for a big, wide-ranging crossover story that might get by on sheer spectacle along (but thankfully doesn’t have to.)

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The setup for any big crossover is less about the maguffin and more about the tone, and this one makes me want to know more, especially about the unexpected guest star.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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