Review – Death’s Head #1 (Marvel Comics)

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Tini Howard
Artwork: Kei Zama
Colours: Felipe Sobreiro
Letters: VC’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: 31st July 2019

This week sees the return of Marvel UK fan-favourite Death’s Head in a brand new four-part miniseries from Tini Howard and Kei Zama. One of the main strengths of DH as a character, even all the way back to his Transformers days, is the way he can be dropped into almost any story or continuity and still make an impact, and that’s exactly what Howard and Zama do here.

The series opens with Death’s Head being used as an amp by a New York rock band (yes, you heard me), before we jump back into the near past to see him parting ways with now former employer Yondu and being dumped on Earth. Waking up and rebooting himself, DH quickly crosses paths with Young Avengers Billy Kaplan (Wiccan) and Teddy Altman (Hulkling), leading to a rather worrying discovery under the mattress of the pair’s shared apartment.

There’s a slightly humourous vibe throughout the course of the issue, but things never devolve into an all-out comedy. Death’s Head’s dry delivery is always likely to raise a few smiles, and Howard does a fantastic job of capturing the familiar back-and-forth of Wiccan and Hulkling. The story is unashamedly weird and ambitious, but the execution is pretty much flawless, delivering just enough answers to make the reader care about sticking around to uncover the remaining questions in the issues to come.

Zama’s knack for machine-based combat has been well utilised during an absolutely stellar run on IDW’s Optimus Prime series, and she transfers those skills to this new series with ease. More than just the action though (which is admittedly choreographed rather beautifully), it’s the expression she manages to pack into Death’s Head’s face by way of subtle adjustments to the eyes that really stands out here.

There’s a harshness and chaos to the artwork that actually works well, with Felipe Sobreiro’s colours adding some depth and energy to the proceedings, particularly during one key moment where Wiccan uses his powers to do a little ‘alternate reality Googling’ of himself. Zama also flexes a previously unseen (for the most part, anyway) knack for drawing expressive and dynamic human characters, which helps the moments featuring the two Young Avengers to really sizzle.

The final pages feature a rather head-scratching turn of events, as I mentioned above, and I’m happy to say that I have absolutely no idea where this series is heading – which is something of a rarity in new comics these days. However, given the creative team at the helm, you can bet that it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun finding out.

Wild, humorous and boasting some full-on heavy metal artwork, Death’s Head is your new favourite Marvel Comic, yes?

Rating: 4.5/.5


The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
Article Archive: Ceej Says
You can follow Ceej on Twitter

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