The GeeksverseNear Death #1

Near Death #1
Published on Monday, September 26, 2011 by

Written by: Jay Faerber
Art: Simone Guglielmini
Colored by: Ron Riley
Lettered by: Charles Pritchett
Cover Art: Tomm Coker w/ Daniel Freedman

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Jay Faerber and hadn’t read anything of his in awhile. I haven’t read Dynamo 5 but I had read Noble Causes. The biggest thing I never liked about Noble Causes was how fast the series moved. For what was supposed to be an ongoing series (and then a series of mini-series), Faerber kept the thing moving too quickly. I did like the risk he took by killing off Race in the first issue but even then the series never slowed down.

Near Death seems to fall into that same category.

The first issue moves very rapidly. Almost too quickly.

We don’t get a chance to see what Markham was like before his near death. We see him making a trip to his surgeon because he’s been shot. But we don’t know anything about Markham the hitman. The only thing we learn is that he’s killed alot of people (and it almost looks like too many, he’s been a very busy man). We don’t get a feel for how good he was, how dispassionate or cold about it he was (if at all). Was he sadistic? Why was he a hitman to begin with?

Instead we’re thrown right into the change. But without the backstory of him as a hitman, his change of heart rings hollow. Why should we care that he now wants to balance the scales? We know nothing about the man.

And even the near death scene itself was too quick. We don’t get a view of hell, even though Markham says later he doesn’t want to go back there again. We don’t know what “there” really is like. All we see is his first kill ask him if he’d really atone and Markham says yes, and we’re off and running.

But Faerber does good in other scenes. The part of how Markham tracks down the witness to protect her was nicely done as was the dinner with Sutton. Markham admitting that he didn’t feel anything when he saved the woman has lots of story potential. I’m interested in where Faerber will take this series.

It’s not a concept that I would have seen as an ongoing, it doesn’t seem like the concept can last for years, but I’m along for the ride as long as Faerber slows down.

Guclielmini’s style fits the tone of the story. It’s got a rough look and feel to it. With Riley’s colors, the book has a noirish vibe. The artist does need to work on the female characters more though. In some panels they look pretty mannish.

Overall the art is solid and fits the book very well.

Near Death #1 receives
3.5 out of 5

Despite the quickness of the story, which does prevent it from being stronger, it’s still interesting enough to grab the second issue.

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