Written by Kristine Chester, Fanboy Comics Senior Contributor
Thursday, 25 October 2012 04:53
Wild West meets zombie apocalypse. That's Death Springs in a nutshell and it works, it really works. Death Springs takes the best of both genres and blends them more seamlessly than most combos. The first issue is, as always, setup with the first half being a typical western tale of a sheriff vs. a gang of outlaws, which takes the time to introduce the residents of the town and lay groundwork for what's to come.
The old west characters are all stereotypes: the reformed criminal, the woman trying to make her place in a man's world, the Indian medicine man, etc., but they are refreshing stereotypes to go up against zombies compared to the likes of the redneck, the office worker, and the grizzled, retired veteran. The characters are instantly likeable, and I attribute a lot of that to Brady Sullivan's dialogue, which perfectly captures the drawl and language often heard in spaghetti westerns and makes each character sound unique.
I had mixed feelings about the art. I loved the character designs on close-ups: the gritted teeth, hand motions, and body language, but from further back their features blended together more than they should, and we get characters with long faces, splotches of color to represent eyes, and the like. I also wasn't a fan of the scratchy looking shading which to me often looked like there were rips in the sky or like characters had started growing hair on the foreheads rather than shadows. I loved the character design, which matched the tone of the setting, but each character stands out as unique. This includes the zombies, whose diversity made it pretty easy to guess what they were in life, which made it easier to acknowledge the true horror that these were once ordinary people, instead of imagining another member of the shambling horde. The colorist, Jessie Alley, deserves some major props. Death Springs looks great with a dynamic coloration that makes the oftentimes bland world of the old west look vibrant and makes for some great contrast with the dark goings-on in the book.
Death Springs can be found online at deathsprings.com, where a new page is posted every Thursday. The first issue is up now along with an intermission story and the first few pages of Issue #2.