Things went south pretty quickly at the end of the first dramatic issue of Death or Glory from writer Rick Remender and artist Bengal, as our hero, Glory Owen, discovers a shipment of humans in the back of the truck she had hoped would give her the drugs to get her the money she desperately needs to save her dear old dad. It didn’t, and now Glory has a target on her back, and a bullet in her side. Or will have, if local bad apple, and town sheriff chooses to give her up. Luckily, he ain’t ready just yet. And things don’t get much better in this second issue, out this Wednesday, the 6th of June from Image Comics.
Along the way Glory picks up a partner of sorts – Pablo – while we drop in on the growing threat she is currently blissfully unaware of. But, if her plan of action is executed – and Glory ain’t one to dither, that’s for sure – then she’ll soon face this threat face on.
Remender cranks the story up a gear, and adds a bit of (racing) colours to characters that wouldn’t be too far removed from more traditional comic book fare. Here they remain on the right side of believable for this story to continue to build momentum and tension. They seem more in line with the kind of eccentric villains Bond would face, if he lived in a trailer park near the Mexican border and he had no money. Organised criminals with a touch a flair. The blind nuns you’ll meet in this sophomore issue are a great example of such weird and wonderful characters that this comic is building into its growing cast of nasties.
By the end of the book, the bad guys seem to out-number the good. Which isn’t difficult given that everyone seems to be on the take in some way or another, including Glory. It really isn’t looking too good for Glory and her new travelling companion out to save his own family, and her ignorance is only going to be her undoing, I fear, as they set off to find out the original starting point of the human trafficking truck. Y’know, because that’s a good idea. right?
Bengal’s art and colours add a brightness to a comic that’s growing narratively darker by the page, and it’s a sight to behold, too. I even note a slight – ever so slight – difference to his style with just a touch of Howard Chaykin crossed with the slightest of Manga influences, too. You’ll have to pick it up to see for yourselves, but this slight evolution works a treat. I’ve always felt Chaykin was great at presenting expressive characters, and in an issue with plenty of dialogue and varied characters, it helps bring the story to life, filling each soul with animation and energy. This is already turning into a great series with something of the personal behind its inception, which makes me thankful, once again, for the universal medical care we currently benefit from her in the UK. Thanks to the NHS, we would never have a Glory Owen or a Walter White turning to desperate measures to provide for their families when faced with the impossible. But, this ain’t Britain, but rather the melting pot that is America, and the diverse cast reflect this reality.
The violence that occurs – often in the form of torture – is also presented as a normal occurrence to these vile creeps as they hack, saw and…well, I’ll let you discover for yourself the pain a red hot pepper can bring to a man. Talk about bringing tears to your eyes! But, it’s all done in a way that we are supposed to fear these people as they go about their daily routines of hacking and chopping people up, for nefarious means. A fear that Glory doesn’t yet share. I suspect she might before this series reaches the finishing line.
A dark humoured, family drama, with corrupt cops, crime and cars! And, out this week! Go check it out.
Death or Glory #2 arrives in shops this Wednesday, June 6th, from Image Comics.