Death Sentence: Sex, Drugs and Superpowers (graphic novel review)


When it comes to comic book superheroes and their powers, it’s always interesting to see the many different ways a writer can come up with how a person acquires their powers. The Fantastic Four got their powers by being exposed to cosmic rays. Spider-Man received his superpowers by getting bit by a radioactive spider. The X-Men were simply born with them. And now we have Death Sentence, a comic book about people getting incredible powers due to a virus. The catch? They only have 6 months to live.

Death Sentence Collection
Writer: Monty Nero, Artist: Mike Dowling
192pp – HC – FC – $22.99

Death Sentence introduces us to the G+ virus. This is a sexually transmitted virus that gives the victim unique powers, but since it’s a virus, the victim has only 6 months to live. What makes the virus deadlier is that the person who contracted it has an increased libido, making the person more sexually active, thus allowing the virus to spread faster.

We’re focused on three main characters with the G+ virus. Verity is the most normal of the bunch with whom we can relate to. She’s an artist who just wants her life to be normal. Weasel is a druggie rock star who loves to sleep around a lot and is trying to come up with the next revolutionary song. Then we have Monty, an egotistical media personality who also loves to sleep around a lot, except he thinks everybody’s beneath him. (Is it a coincidence that his name is the same as the writer?)

Each person deals with their powers differently. Verity and Weasel are the tragic heroes, while Monty embraces his powers early on…to the point where he’s enjoying it too much. You can imagine where his path is headed.

Death Sentence is a comic that will shock you. It definitely caters towards a more mature audience, since we have plenty of sexual acts and graphic violence spread throughout. Monty has the power to influence people, and he’ll use it to his advantage; for example, having a nun want to have sex with him or making another person perform sexual acts on another. This man can make people do almost anything, and some of them are disturbing while some are funny.

As these characters’ journey progress, their paths will eventually cross in the end. With just 6 months to live, will they use their powers for good…or for evil.

An issue I have with Death Sentence is that the comic only focuses on a select few. The virus can spread quickly, and I’d like to see more random characters discovering their powers for the first time. It feels like Verity, Weasel and Monty are the only ones with powers (perhaps they have had it for a while, therefore their powers have grown).

Death Sentence answers the question on what you would do if you had superpowers and only 6 months to live. Some of these fantasies can be fun, and some of them can be deadly. If you’re looking for a more adult take on superheroes, then the collection is definitely worth checking out. It’s like X-Men meets The Dallas Buyers Club, except on crack.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

NR 4 Atoms - B

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