In DEATH OR GLORY #11, Glory and Red are so close to escaping to Mexico, they can almost touch it. But the remnants of the gang of people smugglers have other ideas, leading to an all out breathless action thriller that would shame any 80s movie. Does Red get his new liver, or is it truly, Death or Glory? Find out in your next mighty Major Spoilers review!
DEATH OR GLORY #11
Writer: Rick Remender
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Editor: Will Dennis
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: July 22nd, 2020
Previously in DEATH OR GLORY: Red lives off the grid with his daughter Glory, living the life of the libertarian as the dead hand of government grows ever tighter. When Red becomes ill and needs a transplant, Glory decides to intervene, leading to a shocking discovery about her ex-husband, Toby, and his dealings with a ring of people smugglers. Now, with the Mexican border in sight, and Red’s new liver on ice, the race to freedom is on.
DON’T TREAD ON ME
There’s a strain of American libertarianism that stretches all the way back to the old American West and beyond. Let me lead my life and keep the dead hand of government out of it as much as possible. That sensibility, the idea that people can and should be able to lead their lives without the interference runs right through DEATH OR GLORY #11.
Adding fuel to the fire is an all out action thriller that would put a lot of 80s movies this series uses as a template, to shame. Glory and Red and all the other people they have attracted along the way in their quest to fund Red’s treatment, have engaged in an all out action adventure that is kinetic, exciting, and frequently very, very bloody. DEATH OR GLORY #11 doesn’t resile from the over the top effects of violence on the human body. Instead, it actively revels in it.
Artist Bengal has only one speed – full nitrous high octane pedal to the floor. DEATH OR GLORY #11 opens directly after the helicopter crash, with body parts littering the scene and the survivors sheltering behind a car. Our not so friendly people smugglers, armed to the teeth, begin shooting the car to pieces while one of the helicopter crash survivors drags herself across the street. Our one armed, one eyed villain decides to end her in a particularly gruesome way. As Red and Glory later escape down a tunnel towards freedom with the others, a massively exciting sequence occurs, involving gun play, terrible driving, all amidst a drenching of blood.
Despite the static images, Bengal brings a real verve and sense of speed to the action. Character reactions to events around them give a scale to the menace of approaching tankers, while good use of angles and a sense of scale give the images their kinetic power. The scene in the tunnel really does feel like a five minute scene of utter mayhem from a movie, mixing up intimate scenes of extreme violence with people clambering over the back of trucks and vehicles, brawling together as the transports veer from side to side.
Rick Remender isn’t given much to do in the first half of DEATH OR GLORY #11, other than setting the scene so Bengal can bring the mayhem. The writing does really kick in though, in the last half, where Glory and the other survivors go deep into character mode as they deal with the aftermath of the chase. Having escaped their pursuers once and for all, Glory has to deal with what comes next. What comes next is an extended eulogy, a paean for a way of American life that is rapidly being hemmed into the corners of existence. A lament, in fact, for a passing generation of men and women who relied on themselves to get through each day, rugged individuals who instilled their beliefs into a dwindling generation more taken with the dubious delights of the internet and social media. Glory’s thoughts on her father, and the accompanying images, really do paint a picture of someone missing the old days, and keen to carry them over to the next generation. In contrast to the high octane first half of DEATH OR GLORY #11, it might seem an odd choice to close out the series. Instead, though, it is a surprisingly affecting finale, leaving the reader with the feeling that despite all the sacrifices and death, Glory and her children find themselves, finally, in the place they always wanted to be.
BOTTOM LINE: HIGH OCTANE
DEATH OR GLORY #11 is an issue in two parts, with plenty of action for those who love fight scenes and extreme violence. The second half may be a little off putting for those, expecting an explosive finale, but for those who have followed the series and had their fill of those delights, the closing pages of this issue are a quiet, meditative take on a dying way of life.
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Death or Glory #11
Action adventure mixed in with some very good characterization make DEATH OR GLORY #11 an entertaining and surprising read. If this is your first exposure to the series, there’s enough here to kindle a strong interest in hunting down the rest of it.