Review – Dead Kings #5 (AfterShock Comics)

Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Matthew Dow Smith
Colourist: Lauren Affe
Letterer: Thomas Mauer
Release Date: 29th May 2019

The explosive post-apocalyptic series Dead Kings comes to its conclusion this week. Sasha is dead, and Stone Mary and Gena must put their grief aside and fight their way out of the camp to bring Gena safely home. Gena however has different plans, and he isn’t going to rest until the entire camp is liberated. This might be more of a fight than even Mary in her formidable War Habit can hope to win.

Steve Orlando has written a great adventure with some interesting twists and turns into the unexpected that have been really refreshing.  He has always managed to make the whole series seem so much more wide reaching and long lived than its meagre five issue run. It’s a real shame to see this series ending, but I can only hope that this is a springboard for prequels and spin-off series’ somewhere down the line.

Whilst I felt they never delivered the Russian Folk Mythology that was promised at the beginning of this series, Orlando and Dow Smith have most certainly delivered a fantastic sci-fi action thriller. This issue does a great job of giving us the payoff we wanted, and it’s encouraging to see an ending full of hope and new beginnings, particularly when the expectation was always bleak.

Orlando’s narrative throughout has been great, the tension has never let up and the character development has been superb. Stone Mary, for me, has been the standout character throughout. This has been far more her story than that of Sasha and Gena, and I’ve felt to an extent that their story was merely a vehicle to propel Mary along her own personal road to redemption.

Throughout the series, Matthew Dow Smith and Lauren Affe have delivered some truly amazing artwork. The blend of old, ‘50s style sci-fi imagery with a more contemporary, futuristic feel is really cool, and the dark, heavy-lined style works fantastically. I loved the fact that the War Habit looked like something from another era; a cross between something from the 1930s Flash Gordon and some kind of Steampunk diving suit.

Affe’s colouring in this issue is once again fantastic. The watercolour and ink technique she has used provides some startling contrasts and brings Dow Smith’s artwork to life in a way that makes it jump off the page while imbuing it with a sense of age that complements his style perfectly.

A great end to a fantastic series from some very talented people, and I really hope we get to see more stories from this particular world in the future.

Rating 3.5/5


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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