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Review: Black Suit Of Death: Ides Of March & Issue #1

BSOD ides of marchBlack Suit Of Death… When I opened the prelude comic, Ides Of March, I had no idea what it was about, and while that probably won’t be the case for you if you keep reading, it was a rare treat for me to go into a comic utterly blind.

So first impressions of Black Suit Of Death Ides Of March was that it was a darkly funny splash of at times gloriously over the top science fiction horror. I’ll admit that when the deaths started happening I was taken by surprise, but I quickly fell for the over the top schlockey horror that has been described as very Bruce Campbellesque – a description that’s very fitting. As a prelude to the first issue this introduces you to the Black Suit of Death, and gives you a pretty decent understanding of what the suit is capable of, and why it was created. It’s also got some darkly humourous moments peppered within its pages, often in the little conversations the background characters are having.

Written by Benjamin J. Kreger and Ed Ellsworth  the comics focuses on population control via some questionable methods; the dark subject matter which is complemented by the deep shadows and moody atmosphere of Stephano Cardoselli (pencils and inks) and Craig Gilliland‘s (colours) artwork as they brig the story to life with a great use of shadows, sepia toned reds and once the violence starts some vibrant blue and green hues the balance the on panel dismembering. The prelude serves as a great taste of the what’s to come, thematically, and it’s really quite good.

It is also quite unlike the first issue.

BSOD 1Black Suit of Death #1 takes a drastically different direction than the prelude issue as it takes place roughly ten thousand years or so after Ides Of March. We spend the majority of it following Edd Grimes as his life spirals ever downward. The art team is different this issue, with Dexter Wee providing pencils and inks and Bryan Arfal Magnaye on board for the colouring. The switch does change the aesthetic of the comic, although with the shift in the story’s focus I think that the shift is actually for the better as there’s less of the Sci-Fi horror twist to the art that worked so well in the prelude issue, but wouldn’t fit quite as well with this issue.

Despite losing the horror tinged aspects of the prelude, the first issue doesn’t shy away from darker subject matter; it’s just handled in a much different way. Edd’s daily struggle with his depression and suicidal thoughts are a central part of his journey throughout the issue, and while I’ve never suffered with what he’s going through, the way that Kreger an Ellsworth handle the subject seems to be done in a respectful and tactful way.

I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading the Warrior Innkeeper Creative published series, and came out the other end having read two chapters of the same story that effortlessly cross genres, art styles and tens of thousands of years. In addition to the story itself, each comic also features a single page short comic and a multi-page text only short story. These additions certainly sweeten the pot as it were when you’re thinking about picking the issues up.

Black Suit Of Death may sound like a cheesy name, but the concept and execution will exceed your expectations.

Prelude Issue
Writers: Benjamin J. Kreger and Ed Ellsworth
Pencils & Inks: Stephano Cardoselli Colours: Craig Gilliland
Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
First issue
Writers: Benjamin J. Kreger and Ed Ellsworth
Pencils & Inks: Dexter Wee Colours: Bryan Arfal Magnae
Story: 9 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Warrior Innkeeper Creative provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

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