Rating: 4.5/5 – Absolutely worth checking out
We’re at the mid-point of Deathmatch (assuming this runs 12 issues like many other Boom! series) and the quality has been holding at a consistent level since issue #1. Paul Jenkins is weaving a great story here, with some fascinating world building and character development over the course of the series so far. The art by Carlos Magno is sharp, with great camera angles & panel-to-panel continuity, a really nice match with the story. Magno is doing a great job with the large cast of characters who map to the major super-hero archetypes. He has created some great costume designs that are evocative of the archetypes while still having a unique feel.
I can understand why some would dismiss this series as a “rip-off” of other heroes, but they’re just not getting the story that Jenkins is assembling here. Taking the familiar hero types and getting them to interact within a story that could not be told at Marvel/DC is the exact point. Remember, this is exactly what Alan Moore did when he wrote Watchmen (which some also dismissed in the early days). Is this Watchmen? No. Jenkins seems to be going for a different type of story here, but that makes it no less fun. Playing with the “toys” that are basic super-hero types and being able to have some “real” deaths is very freeing. I’m looking forward to reading each issue of this self-contained story where, even though we’re in a standalone book with characters I never knew even 6 months ago, I know their deaths are more meaningful in the context of the story than the death of a Marvel/DC character that I know will be brought back to life within a year or 2 (at most). Kind of a mixed blessing, actually, since there have been some fascinating characters killed off in the series so far. Character I’d like to have seen more stories about (Before Deathmatch, anyone?)
In this issue we get some more development of Omni-Engine, continuing the sub-plot where we’re exposed to the voice in his head, I’ll be interested to see where Jenkins is going with this. And what’s the deal with Meridian? Seeds have been planted that he has a key role in the mystery. The deathmatch between Melody Toon & Mink had a nice setup/payoff this issue, the full-page culmination of this match was a highlight of the issue for me.
Deathmatch is a “Top 10” series for me (out of >110 titles read this month), so absolutely worth checking out. The final panel in this issue was another “WOW!” moment that both evokes an image of Big 2 events and makes me want to come back for issue #7 so I can see the spin Paul Jenkins is going to put on it. This series is highly recommended, though not something to jump on board with mid-story. Check it out in collected editions if you missed it in monthly issues.
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