An effective horror/crime thriller, “12 Reasons To Die” #4 balances its shocking scares with its insightful social message. Surprising reader’s expectations, Ghostface Killah’s first foray into comics presents two socially conscious tales about racial attitudes and diversity. The “12 Reasons To Die” series continues to deliver the horror goods and more.
WRITTEN BY: Ghostface Killah, Adrian Younge, Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon, Ce Garcia
ART BY: Breno Tamura, Gus Storms, Joelle Jones, Edwin Huang, and David Murdoch
PUBLISHER: Black Mask Studios
RELEASE: November. 6th, 2013
In the first tale, “The Lead Years” follows Anthony Starks and his Black Suits as they take down the crime underworld of mob bosses and drug kingpins. In order to rise through the ranks and make himself a made man, Anthony has to make his message heard loud and clear. Causing trouble, Anthony and the Black Suits disrupt a private meeting with a group of Satanists. In the second tale, “The Dead Years, ” a record hunter, Migdal, is having second thoughts about retrieving a rare item. As if cursed, the lost record plays the Devil’s music and turns its listeners into demons. Facing heavy competition, Migdal isn’t the only one who is searching for the Devil’s missing record.
In “The Lead Years,” writers Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon build the war between crime families as a new breed of gangster takes over. Anthony represents the changing tide of time as he continues to diminish DeLucas’ power in the urban city. A growing army, the Black Suits are merciless as they plunge into death matches over territory control. Showing that he is more than just a common thug, Anthony thinks ahead of the competition as he cleverly sets up his latest trap.
In my favorite tale, “The Dead Years,” Migdal is at a crossroads as he discovers more secrets about the Devil’s record. Realizing his life is hanging by a thread, Migdal is having doubts about whether he should continue with his mission. There is a masked killer knocking out the previous owners of the cursed record. Rosenberg and Kindlon craft a suspenseful narrative as Migdal slowly recognizes that the Devil’s record has a mind of its own.
In “The Lead Years,” artist Breno Tamura captures the gangster clothing and look you would regularly see on the TV series, “Boardwalk Empire.” In a big crooked panel, Anthony walks into a room with a vibe of coolness as he holds his smoking cigarette. At the climax, Tamura showcases Anthony’s brutality as he illustrates a splash page of the Black Suits in a massive shootout. Drenching the page in blood, the Black Suits are shooting nonstop, blasting off people’s necks and heads.
The best part about “The Dead Years” is how artist Gus Storms conjures up the hallucinations of the devil’s music. With the deadly spell playing in the background, Carmine sees a young man possessed by a demon and a samurai statue brought to life. Mid-way through the narrative, Storms delivers a thrilling action sequence as Carmine slashes his sword back and forth, blocking hits. The eerie last page is definitely going to excite readers about what’s to happen next.
Full of edgy anti-heroes and bloody kill scenes, “12 Reasons To Die” #4 is a must-read for horror fans. Ghostface Killah and his crew use the horror genre to deliver an unflinching social commentary that will stay in the reader’s mind.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis