Published: March 25th, 2014
Written by: Brandon Choi
Art by: Jim Lee, Tim Sale
Image Comics, Wildstorm, DC Comics (reprinted), 292 Pages
Back when I was pretty hardcore into Image Comics, the company was still fresh, new and helmed by the coolest creators of the early ’90s. I used to buy everything I could get my hands on.
Jim Lee’s Deathblow was one of those titles and I remember first seeing the title character in the Darker Image one-shot, which was used to introduce a few characters with a darker or harder edge about them.
Deathblow really stood out, even though most people remembered that comic for bringing Sam Keith’s The Maxx into the mainstream.
There was just something super cool and brooding about this character, though. He felt like a much darker version of a Stallone or Schwarzenegger character with a bit of Punisher sprinkled in for extra flavor.
However, Deathblow’s solo series never really resonated with me like I had hoped but as I got older, I thought that it might have had a lot to do with my age at the time. So I always wanted to go back and read it to see it with fresh eyes and a few extra decades of life experience.
Unfortunately, this didn’t blow me away and I actually found it kind of boring once I got to about the midway point of this beefy collection. It just didn’t captivate me and it felt too much like a product of its time, embracing certain tropes, but not really offering up anything unique or different.
However, I have to point out that the artwork is absolutely stupendous and some of the best work I’ve seen from Jim Lee, a real legend in his field. I loved the muted colors and the high contrast and it was the cool art that at least kept me engaged where the story waned.
Looking back and also having read some of the Image Comics stuff as an adult, I think that this was really the issue with a lot of their comics. The art was always top notch and incredible but the stories were always kind of lacking. Maybe this is why Image never became another Marvel or DC, focused on superhero stories, and eventually moved well beyond that genre with things like The Walking Dead, East of West, Paper Girls, Chew and Saga.
Pairs well with: other comics from Jim Lee’s Wildstorm universe.