Comic Book Review: Deathblow #3

The Revolution thought that Deathblow #1 was a solid issue. Because I got behind on reviews I didn’t have time to do a review for Deathblow #2. But, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t like that issue. If anything, I felt that Deathblow #2 was a more interesting read than Deathblow #1. Azzarello is beginning to settle into this title and is delivering making Deathblow a more interesting character. I am pretty confident that Deathblow #3 is going to be a pretty good read. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: Carlos D’Anda

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with two muggers attacking a woman. Deathblow appears on the scene and brutally beats up the two muggers. We then cut to Deathblow taking a shower and washing the blood from the muggers off of him. We hear a conservative TV talk show host talking about the corrupt politicians in Congress more concerned with counting their money than the safety of taxpayers. The talk show host continues that there has been a vigilante operating in their city for the last two months and that he struck again last night.

We shift to Deathblow sitting down to breakfast with his two kids and Chastity, the nanny. Deathblow asks for a beer for breakfast. Deathblow asks Chastity to stop calling him “Mr. Cray.” Chastity asks Deathblow what he prefers she call him. Since his kids call him “Daddy,” Deathblow slaps Chastity’s ass and tells her that she can call him “Daddy” too.

Deathblow’s kids ask if they can go to the park today. Deathblow says sure. The kids ask him to come with them. Deathblow says he doesn’t like parks and that they bore the shit out of him. Deathblow’s daughter tells him that he shouldn’t curse. Deathblow responds that she understood what he was saying, right? His daughter answers yes. So, Deathblow proceeds to curse away telling Chastity to take the “fucking kid’s asses tout to the park and enjoy this god dam beautiful day.”

Deathblow then asks his daughter why she was named “Martha.” Martha responds because it was Grandma’s name. Deathblow responds that it is certainly a grandma name. The kids leave with Chastity while Deathblow head to the fire escape and looks for the talking dog form the other night. One of Deathblow’s neighbors tells him that the dog is down at the park so he can “run around and stick his nose up where it don’t belong.” Deathblow responds that you can do that in a park?

We cut to Deathblow walking to the park. He is suddenly approached by a scruffy looking black dude. The guy starts walking with Deathblow. He asks Deathblow if he wants to know what they have in common. Deathblow says no. The guy asks Deathblow what is was like being dead. Deathblow says he doesn’t know. That he has never been dead. The scruffy guy responds that Deathblow has been dead before.

Deathblow states that you only live once. The guy retorts that it is nasty for Deathblow to say that to the rest of them. Deathblow loses his patience and turns around to face the guy. Suddenly, the guy disappears. The guy reappears behind Deathblow. The guy says that the Gen Factor in their DNA is what they have in common with each other. They are a couple of guinea pigs. The guy then disappears again.

Deathblow stands their stunned. Deathblow then throws up on a little girl holding her dolly in the park. We cut to a carjacking. We hear the talk show host from earlier talking about how American are all under siege. That evil-doers aren’t hiding in desert spider holes halfway across the world. That they are right under our noses. Right behind you. That our way of life and that of our families are threatened every day by citizens of this country. Or maybe they are illegal immigrants with a hand out, bent on snatching a piece of the pie you’ve worked your entire life to earn.

During this dialogue we see Deathblow beat up the carjacker. We then shift to Deathblow beating up some thugs robbing a convenience store. The talk show host continues that for the criminal element there is an easier way to make a buck than honestly. And that the bleeding hearts may get mad at him for saying this but he honestly doesn’t five a damn that they are finally getting what they deserve. We see a shot of Deathblow in his homemade cape and hood standing over the broken and bloody bodies of some criminals.

We cut to Deathblow back on his fire escape talking when the talking dog appears. The dog asks Deathblow how he is doing. Deathblow responds that he is doing great and he owes it all to him. The dog notices blood on Deathblow. Deathblow tells him not to worry. The blood isn’t Deathblow’s. The dog asks Deathblow if he feels like his old self again. Deathblow says no, thank god.

Suddenly, a couple of heavily armed soldiers enter the alley. Deathblow says that they must have followed him. Deathblow puts his hood back on and attacks the soldiers and brutally beats them. We hear the voice of the talk show host say that what boils him the most about the bleeding hearts is that they treat all blood like its’ only theirs. In a perfect world, it probably would be. But, we have a lot of work ahead of us before we make this world perfect. And it is hard work. Honest work.

We cut to the next morning. Deathblow’s kids are watching the talk show host we have been hearing all issue long. The host warns that the upcoming footage is graphic but it should be seen by everyone. It is footage taking by a security camera in a bodega during a robbery. A robbery that was thwarted by a hero. We see Deathblow in his hood and cape.

Deathblow’s son then gets up and checks on his dad. Deathblow is passed out in bed with blood all over his fists and forearms and his hood and cape are in the corner of the room. The son sits back down next to his sister and tells her that they should call the general. We hear the talk show host saying that the vigilante is a hero. Why? Because he is sick of being a victim. End of issue.

The Good: Deathblow #3 was a great read. I’m really digging how Azzarello is handling this title. Deathblow #3 was well paced and featured a balanced blend of dialogue and brutally violent action. Such balance makes Deathblow a title that will have broad appeal. Azzarello has a clear direction and purpose with this story arc. Azzarello is taking his time laying the proper foundation for where he wants to take this story.

In Deathblow #3, Azzarello teases the writer with several mysteries. First, you have the continued mystery about the talking dog. I am really curious to see where Azzarello is going with this plotline. Is Deathblow just completely bonkers and imagining all of it? Or is this dog some sort of supernatural creature? You know, dog spelling backwards is god, so who knows. Maybe there is more to this dog than simply being the product of Deathblow’s unbalanced mind.

Second, Azzarello introduces a character in the dude who can appear and disappear out of nowhere. This character reveals that both he and Deathblow have the Gen Factor in their DNA. This mysterious character also hints to the fact that Deathblow has actually died and come back to life. With this character sprouts numerous questions that certainly grabbed my interest.

Lastly, Azzarello has Deathblow’s son discover that his dad is the hooded vigilante and has him tell the sister that they need to call the General. Just what is going on with this family? Are they truly his kids? Are they working as spies for the General? There is clearly something more than meets the eye at work here.

This also plays into the clear disconnect that Deathblow has with his children. Deathblow doesn’t even remember that his daughter, Martha, is named after the grandmother. This entire situation with Deathblow’s family and Deathblow’s lack of certain memories alludes to something very strange going on.

I like how Azzarello is handling Deathblow’s character. Deathblow is exactly how he should be: violent, crude and primal. Deathblow is a trained killer. He isn’t a spandex wearing good guy. He isn’t a boy scout. He isn’t an educated and refined man. And Azzarello does a great job being true to Deathblow’s character. From Deathblow having a beer for breakfast, to him cursing liberally in front of his children, to him slapping Chastity’s ass and telling her to call him “daddy.” Deathblow is decidedly un-P.C. and that is exactly how he should be.

I also dig how Azzarello has properly tapped into Deathblow’s violent nature. This man has one purpose and one purpose only: to kill people. I love that Azzarello displays Deathblow’s violent nature by having him not just stop criminals, but do it in an extremely brutal fashion. I also like how Deathblow’s work as a masked vigilante ruthlessly dispending justice has given him a purpose in life and a sense of fulfillment.

The dialogue of the talk show host from Faux News was perfect. I have to admit that I’m surprised that Azzarello so effectively got across such a conservative view. The talk show host made some rather good points about crime in America. I liked the raw and uncensored statements of the talk show host. Whether you agree or disagree with the host’s views, they certainly caused the reader to think about the topic and question their own view toward crime in America.

Believe me, after living in Miami, it certainly does seem that Congress is more concerned with filling their own pockets with money and waging wars in foreign countries to make the world “safer” for Americans while back here violent crime in our neighborhoods has gotten worse and worse. I think Azzarello did a good job writing a character in the talk show host that he probably does not agree with at all.

I say that because Azzarello has the talk show host on the “Faux News” channel. The “Faux News” being a play on “Fox News” and the assertion that Fox News is nothing more than made up stories and propaganda from the Republicans. After all, Azzarello can’t be seen as not being down with the “bleeding hearts” since almost all comic book writers fall into that category and Azzarello doesn’t want to get blackballed in the comic book industry.

What is really funny about that is the belief that it is only Fox New that isn’t telling the truth. You have bastion of the left wing media like CNN who had to fire reporter Peter Arnett for his false report on “Operation Tailwind.” Left wing media outlet, the New York Times who had to fire reporter Jayson Blair for his fabricated stories covering the Bush Administration and the Iraq War. It was so bad that New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines and Managing Editor Gerald Boyd both resigned. And you had CBS having to issue apologies for Dan Rather’s huge flub. The fact is that all of the America media is nothing more than propaganda.

What I find hilarious is how the Republicans squawk about the liberal media bias and turn a blind eye to the conservative bias of Fox News. And equally funny are all the liberals who make fun of Fox News but turn a blind eye to all the liberal bias in media outlets like NBC, CBS, CNN and the New York Times. (Mi padre being one of those people.) This is just another reason why I love being a Libertarian. Take everything you read in a newspaper or watch on TV with a grain of salt. Most of it is nothing but spin.

Azzarello certainly knows how to script some wonderfully violent fight scenes. The combination of the extreme violent scenes with the talk show host’s raw and blunt dialogue made for some rather powerful scenes. The method of placing the talk show host’s dialogue over the silent fight scenes was a great literary tool for increasing the intensity and emotion of those fight scenes.

Azzarello crafts some solid dialogue. I like that Azzarello has given Deathblow a properly gruff voice and that he speaks in a very short and direct manner. Azzarello also shows off his sense of humor. And that is extremely important in an issue as dark and violent as this title. Azzarello gives Deathblow enough funny lines to keep the mood from being too somber.

The banter between Deathblow and his daughter concerning him cursing and her old fashioned name was great. Deathblow accidentally throwing up on the little girl with her dolly was also humorous. It is important for Deathblow to have some type of sense of humor to keep this title from becoming too over the top and more of a parody of itself like what you get on a Daniel Way written comic book.

D’Anda did a nice job with the artwork. D’Anda’s style is perfect for the grim, gritty and dark tone of this title. Plus, D’Anda is great at drawing fight scenes. I also thought that it was a very cool move having the cover of Deathblow #3 actually being the first panel of this issue with the first page of this comic book continuing from the picture on the cover. That was neat and I can’t remember ever seeing that done before.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.

Overall: Deathblow #3 was a good read. Azzarello has gotten better with each issue. Deathblow #3 is a good mix of action and dialogue and is certainly balanced enough to appeal to many different types of comic book readers. If you like your heroes a little crass and gruff then you’ll probably enjoy Deathblow. I’m not at the point where I would urge anyone to try this title at all costs, but if you have some extra money then you should probably give it a try.