Review by John Freeman
Only Death Can Save Us is a US Bronze Age comics inspired, cosmic, fantasy romp of a story, created and drawn by Russ Leach, scripted by Dragon Award-winner Rik Hoskin and edited by Tim Quinn.
Bringing together action and pathos, the ancient elemental known as ‘Death’ leaps from his ethereal retirement to help a young soul protect her loved ones, her world… and even existence itself!
Despite its ominous title, Only Death Can Save Us is all-ages with no gore or sex, and the team, in my view, successfully achieved their aim, to deliver, through crowdfunding, a classic superhero-styled adventure that’s not only great fun, but hopefully will lead to more stories, because it deserves too.
Russ Leach, who instigated this “love letter to the way comics used to be”, and by that, read American comics used to be, has clearly worked hard to capture the feel of Bronze Age comics storytelling in Only Death Can Save Us. His art on this book is top notch, as you’d expect from a creator whose credits range from Ben 10 Magazine and Doctor Who Adventures, to drawing licensed Marvel characters for Marvel/Hachettes’s Draw The Marvel Way.
Making a bored Death the hero of the story is a fun idea, and I’m guessing it’s Rik Hoskin who has built up the character’s back story, haunted by the possibility of a return of demons who might again threaten Earth – and, of course, do!
Along the way, Death – a super strong, scythe-wielding demigod of action, rather than the all-knowing, more ethereal version of Terry Pritchett’s Discworld novels, picks up a sometimes reluctant but determined sidekick, research scientist Christine “Chrissy” Kaminski. Chrissy not only has to come to terms with her own death, but, deciding to return to Earth to help Death avert disaster, risks any chance of a comfortable afterlife.
Only Death Can Save Us is, in my view, an enjoyable graphic novel that will definitely appeal to fans of, say, The Incredible Hulk stories of the 1980s or, perhaps, The Eternals. It’s fun, it’s crammed within action and fist fights, and there’s a creepy spider-villain thrown in for good measure. We even get an ending that only leaves you hanging for another story, but resolves the first arc rather succinctly with, no spoilers here, some “interesting “ character development.
I’m glad to hear it’s been well received by backers. It deserved to be.