Death Head #3
Created and Written by Zack Keller and Nick Keller
Art by Joanna Estep
Colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters by John J. Hill
Cover by E.M. Gist
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 16, 2015
Cover Price: $3.99
Let’s go hiking and when we run across an abandoned town, we’ll search the buildings! After narrowly avoiding death in the most gruesome of ways, we’ll take a little souvenir back home to remember the horrific occasion. Sound crazy? Well, yeah. But people do the craziest things when stressed out. Especially if the item they found is a possessed plague doctor mask that reeks of pure evil. Because, yeah, that’s probably going to be a problem.
Welcome to Death Head #3 in all of its twisted glory!
The skinny is that this mask has some major bad juju attached to it: it causes hallucinations and psychotic impulses. So when Niles Burton zones out and leaves this little demonic prize out for the taking, things take a decidedly darker turn. Unfortunately for Niles, the mask has left its mark on him and he finds himself drawn to a city that may hold the key to the visions racing about in his head. If he doesn’t get himself killed in the meantime, that is.
Niles’ trip to the coastal town of Reyes coincides with a bit of teenage angst and sexploration between a couple of teenage girls (one of whom is his daughter), though their part in this story has yet to be explored or explained. Even the youngest child is affected and is experiencing his own unique visions, thanks to the fact that he appropriated the mask from where his father left it. Life for the Burton family has definitely gone awry and I for one cannot wait to see what else happens!
The story so far alludes to a more sinister concept. We are watching as events unfold that slowly draw this family into their own personal madness, and the slow build up of tension only serves to add to the menacing feel of this macabre tale. It’s like waiting for the other shoe to drop but it never does. I applaud the creator/writers for their well-laid plans and the overbearing eerie impression they leave me with after each issue. Zack Keller and Nick Keller pulled out all the stops when they composed this series; it’s dark and spooky with a touch of Eldritch energy permeating throughout it. Artists Joanna Estep and Kelly Fitzpatrick back up this superb story with sharp art and deeper color palettes that emphasize the darkness without being overwhelmed by it. The panels on each page serve to further the story, creating the right atmosphere every time, which is accentuated by the beautifully done spectral cover by E.M. Gist.
What a dark and stormy ride this has been thus far. You would expect some lull in the story from time to time, but this series has been all about applying the proper amount of strain on the characters and, by extension, the reader. I cannot love this story more and demand that any fan of the horror genre seek this comic book series out. Death Head stands out from all the rest, and its merits are many and varied. Go find it and read it yourself if you don’t believe me.