Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Jenkins & Magno
The premise of heroes and villains being tossed into an arena by some mysterious villain sounds like light fluff of the Marvel versus DC variety. The difference here is that you’ve never heard of the these characters because they are entirely new. However, this book has a lot more going for it plot wise and has a nice layered story to pull the reader into the mysteries of the larger one. I quite liked this comic book and plan to stick with it to see where it’s all heading.
The comic book is basically a bunch of first round death matches where the action is broken up with locker-like scenes where the others are trying to figure out how they got there and what to do about it. The mysteries are fairly complex. The heroes and the villains are in this together, but what isn’t clear is if one of the masterminds behind it all isn’t a part of the fighting as well.
The characters all talk a good game about how they will or won’t act in the arena, but something comes over them once in the arena that drives them to kill their opponent. The characters can’t figure out which problem to tackle first.
The book has a lot of characters during the backstage scenes. While it seems overwhelming to give such a wide variety of characters a bit here and there it actually works well. The fight scenes are very limited and I think this also works well for the broader story. Jenkins relies on a lot of narration boxes to fill in the background while the fight scenes only last a panel or two. This helps the pacing tremendously.
The only drawback I found with the book was the copies of the some of the characters. The most obvious being The Rat being so similar to Watchmen’s Rorschach. With the book filled with some many other original characters I’m not sure why the familiar ones are re-dressed in this manner.
Magno’s art is terrific. The book relies heavily on emotions from unknown characters and the art is up to the challenge. There are plenty of panels that are stunningly detailed and that makes the book really shine visually.
Deathmatch sounds like a hollow comic book concept. This issue proves it is not. Jenkins has a bunch of plots running here as he appears to be pulling threads out in various directions to join them back up at some future point. The fighting isn’t nearly as central to this book as the title suggests. To round out the book the comic has a bracket and bios in the back making this comic book a true experience. I definitely enjoyed this comic book.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles