Review: ’12 Reasons To Die’ #3

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Brilliantly conceived, “12 Reasons To Die” #3 continues to be a creative tour-de-force of gore, satire, and crime. Ghostface Killah’s first foray into comics presents hardcore tales about racism, diversity, and social ethics. The “12 Reasons To Die” series delivers its message with a no-holds-barred attitude.

WRITTEN BY: Ghostface Killah, Adrian Younge, Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon, Ce Garcia
ART BY: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Tyler Crook, Toby Cypress, David Murdoch
PUBLISHER: Black Mask Studios
PRICE: $3.50
RELEASE: September 4th, 2013

In the first tale, “The Lead Years” follows Anthony Starks as he ruthlessly tries to rise through their ranks of power. In the underworld of mobsters and drug kingpins, Anthony intends on being a made man, even if it means getting his hands bloody and dirty. As Anthony dreams of building his own empire, how long can he continue playing both sides? In the second tale, “The Dead Years, ” a record hunter has been hired by a wealthy businessman to retrieve a rare item. For a large sum of money, Migdal has to find a record that plays the Devil’s music. Before Migdal can stop the DJ from playing the cursed record, the Devil’s music is turning everyone at the nightclub into demons.

In “The Lead Years,” the writers focus on an untrustworthy character who crosses the line between protagonist and antagonist. Readers are rooting for the bad guy to take down mob bosses, in order to become number one. Against better judgment, we shouldn’t be rooting for Anthony Starks but the mobsters are deeply rooted in racism. This is old school vs. new school, where the old-timers are afraid of change. Starks represents the inevitable change that the mobsters are unwilling to adapt to as they cling to the past.

In my personal favorite, “The Dead Years,” the record hunter continues to find himself in a place where he doesn’t fit in. Being from the inner-city, Migdal finds himself in tough situations encountering the wealthy class. Migdal doesn’t want to abide by their rules, but he finds himself dealing with hidden secrets of the riches. The writers also take a chance to explore what happens when people start listening to the cursed record.

In “The Lead Years,” artists Breno Tamura and Tyler Crook have studied a lot of crime movies, such as Scarface. In close-ups, the artwork focuses on Starks’ cold and angry facial expressions. The more he kills, the more Starks loses a part of his humanity. He is slowly becoming a cold-hearted killer as his plans continue to succeed. In his facial features, Starks seems like he has lost his sense of humor and looks at everything with such coldness.

The best part about “The Dead Years” is the costume party at the nightclub. When the devil’s music starts playing, artists Gus Storms and Toby Cypress take a more cartoonish and comedic approach to horror. As the costumed dancers start transforming into demons and zombies, their arms stretch and their hands claw at the air. Even Migdal isn’t safe from the Devil’s music as he witnesses giant bugs stalking him. The illustrations are drawn in a surreal style, making it appear like Migdal is suffering from a drug-induced haze.

“12 Reasons To Die” #3 should not be missed out by horror fans. Ghostface Killah and his crew use the horror genre to deliver a social commentary that will inspire talk and thought from its readers.

Rating: 4.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis