Death Sentence


By Montynero & Mike Dowling (Titan Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-78276-008-5

For most of us Sex Sells.

If that’s not you and you’re easily shocked or offended, stop Right Here, Right Now and come back for a less grown up review tomorrow…

As for the salacious, tawdry, vulgar rest of humanity, however, fornication is a force that cannot be resisted and we’re always gagging for it.

One outrageous potential result of that inescapable biological imperative was recently examined and scathingly lampooned in a dark and decadent fable from scripter, artist and games designer Montynero and sublime illustrator Mike Dowling. Death Sentence – after an initial and truncated appearance in Clint Magazine in 2012 – was retooled and completed in a breakthrough 6-issue miniseries which took the comics world by storm when it was released in October 2013.

Now the entire sordid episode has been compiled – along with a scintillating selection of irresistible extras – in a stout and sturdy hardcover collection that promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year…

The author’s own Introduction kicks everything off (and is complemented by another from Rob Williams) before the seductively apocalyptic tale begins with ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ wherein frustrated artist Verity Fette is getting some very distressing news in a Camden doctor’s surgery.

She’s just been diagnosed with G+: a new, universally fatal sexually transmitted disease that has a rather peculiar side-effect.

Although this STI kills in six months, for the length of that time the victim “suffers” from increased vigour, stamina, sex drive and even develops some form of super power…

Over in Primrose Hill, disgraced, shambolic and rapidly fading rock star Daniel Waissel AKA Weasel awakes from another unspecified period of debauched excess and tries to make sense of what his A&R man Russ is saying.

Apparently having G+ might be the only thing to revive his failing career and, if his power is music-related, perhaps he can still get all six of the albums he’s contracted for finished before he joins all the other dead legends going out in a blaze of lucrative glory…

Whilst Verity is quitting her meaningless job, over the river in a South Bank TV studio comedian, media darling, affirmed libertine and G+ carrier David “Monty” Montgomery is charmingly, charismatically, shockingly titillating the nation again; avowing that his final months on Earth won’t alter his pleasure-seeking behaviour or sensuous attitudes…

Later, Weasel’s powers at last manifest when a couple of irate drug dealers turn up, wanting payment for the prodigious amount of pharmaceuticals the creatively blocked musician has consumed, but neither he nor the other two G+ sufferers are aware that a shady government agency is keeping tabs on them.

Unfortunately, when the spooks decide to “acquire” Verity the result is spectacular and very messy…

Determined to keep the populace in the dark, the Department of National Security goes into utter bastard mode: blaming the gory fiasco on fictitious terrorists whilst covertly hunting the terrified ‘Dissolved Girl’ through the seedy streets of London.

Weasel is – as always – an emotional wreck, avoiding decisions – or making rock & roll – via a constant flurry of sex and drugs. His wake-up call comes when he realises his new normal has ended his latest bedmate in a most unsavoury manner…

Monty, however, is completely in control: aware of what he’s doing and not about to let a few interfering coppers get in his way.

Appalled and guilt-ridden, Verity regains consciousness on a remote Scottish island, where a very nice old lady makes her an intriguing offer before inviting the still-frustrated artist into the huge secret base beneath the heather…

‘Royals’ finds bored and increasingly irresistibly Monty pondering how to top his already prodigious and unsurpassed career of licentious excess before heading off to Buckingham Palace…

North of the border Verity is beguiled by talk of a cure and agrees to let Dr. Lunn train her in the use of her rapidly-expanding abilities whilst on a quiet London street fugitive Weasel sneaks into the bedroom of his son.

Leaving Mickey with his mother might well be only good thing he’s ever done in his whole wasted life…

This sentimental act is a big blunder though, as a flotilla of copters leads a blistering military ambush which, after a spectacular chase, finally leads to the capture of the musical rebel without a clue…

When he arrives on the island, the nice doctors are keen on helping Weasel learn about himself and sexy fellow inmate Verity. They happily provide space, time, tuition, medical grade drugs…

Down South, Monty, having crowned himself King of Britain, is barely able to contain his self-absorbed glee. ‘In the City’ sees him really stretching himself, and after a psionic flexing of his mental muscle, bloodily destroying a division of the army as well as the ruling elite of Britain, he declares London a city free from all laws.

Influenced as much by a sense of wild liberty as Monty’s surging mental influence, the population descends into gory debauchery, prompting the American President and NATO to take matters into their own hand before the seditious super-maniac works himself up into becoming a global threat…

In Scotland Dr. Lunn is helpless to prevent the DNS frantically turning her research subjects into weapons to use against the rogue G+ victim who has turned London into a sex-fuelled charnel house. Their main concern is to end the affair before the full NATO fleet steaming ominously towards Britain takes the matter into their own terrified, remorseless, thermonuclear hands…

‘This Woman’s Work’ ratchets up the tension as Monty increasingly opts for slaughter over sex whilst Verity and Weasel have no choice but to grudgingly accept that they might be the only way to stop him. The crisis then reaches a catastrophic climax in ‘To the End’…but not in a way you’d suspect or be comfortable with…

Each chapter is bolstered by a series of faux news articles and public service features ranging from ‘Pop goes the Weasel’ to a medical advice website page for potential G+ sufferers, and this lewdly lavish hardback tome also includes a fifteen-strong covers-&-variants gallery, a fulsome, informative and frequently hilarious ‘Death Sentence Commentary’ from Montynero and Mike Dowling, and more.

Bold, slick, immensely engrossing and intoxicatingly enjoyable, Death Sentence is a black, uproarious fairytale for adults that blends superhero tropes with outrageous cheek, deliriously shocking situations and in-your-face irreverence, making it one of the most notable and unmissable comics tales of the last half century…

Buy it, read it and spread it around to everyone…

Death Sentence ™ and © 2014 Montynero, Mike Dowling and Titan Comics. All rights reserved.