I’ve been reading indie books so long I forgot what Vertigo pacing feels like. Besides the pacing, Deathbed actually doesn’t feel too much like a “Vertigo book.” Sure, the witty, buxom female protagonist feels like a Vertigo book–oh, no, am I going to regret saying it didn’t feel like a Vertigo book–but the subject of the book doesn’t feel like a Vertigo “hero.”
Deathbed is about a failing writer who agrees to ghostwrite the autobiography of some guy she’s never heard of. But he’s rich. And it turns out he’s a monster hunter. It’s never clear whether or not the protagonist–Val–is aware there are monsters. It’s a problem, but writer Joshua Williamson skips over it. He’s got the issue to finish.
It’s going to be six issues, which is probably fine. Nothing much happens here–not in terms of establishing the protagonist (though it’s entirely possible she’s not going to get any more character than she’s got at the end of issue one)–except there’s eventually mummies attacking a naked old (but astoundingly fit) guy and him killing them all.
It’s not a spoiler. It’s kind of the point of the book. He’s on his final quest–rid the world of bad guys until one of them kills him. Val, ghostwriter, will be there to watch.
Riley Rossmo’s art is all right, but the book’s so rushed there’s not a lot of time to appreciate it. There’s a strange reliance on double page spreads, which just hurry things along even more.
Deathbed needs to slow down.
Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Riley Rossmo; colorist, Ivan Plascencia; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Amedeo Turturro; publisher, Vertigo.