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‘Dead Man’s Party:’ TPB Review

How do you want to go, when the time comes?

Ghost is an assassin at the top of his game.  You want someone gone? They’re gone, no questions, except payment.  He’s been at it a while and has an impressive success rate that is reflected in his going rate above anyone else in the trade.  Then, a bullet he never saw coming: cancer with a terminal diagnosis.  It’s a cleaner shot than even he could have made and a withering death that he wants no part of, so he calls for a mark on himself. One of his contemporaries will spare him the pain and degradation by taking him down quick.  A man, once calling a Dead Man’s Party on himself, doesn’t fight it, he just enjoys the time remaining and waits for oblivion.  But, not everything is as it seems, and there are miles to go before he sleeps.

Jeff Marsick and Scott Barnett have given us Ghost, the aforementioned contract killer extraordinaire, and have built a world of intrigue and double crossing that befits any spy thriller and fills it with the type of outside-the-fishbowl types who casually deal in circles that would make the average person lock up with apoplexy.  Marsick has laid out a great action book that hits every note right on the nose.  There are twists, turns, and ambushes that will leave you reeling.  The pace is very interesting, the story moves quickly and is easy to follow, but there are times it feels that the story’s hand is tipped a touch early, where you are maybe a step ahead of Ghost every now and again.  This isn’t a negative quality, as it reinforces that he’s dealing with a situation where people have planned steps ahead of him, as well as the fact that he’s never interested in asking too many questions.  He’s lived in a cocoon that keeps him safe from any internal conflict but doesn’t let him see pieces moving against him the whole time.  The final twist is kept well buried until the end, and the pace does accelerate well towards the end, where you feel you’re riding the tide once he settles on his path.

Barnett’s artwork is slick and perfect for the world.  Having a Bond/Magnum P.I. vibe with exotic locations and stunning action sequences, everything fits the tone and genre perfectly.  This is a pure spy thriller through and through, were Ghost looks like a man that women want to be with and men want to be.  The slightly restrained testosterone flows well throughout, and every panel seems to be a still shot from a film with a trend towards the celluloid realism we’ve come to expect from this kind of tale.  The characters are all designed well, and the smoky seductresses light up the pages when they appear.

This is a must read for any spy fans, with action that melds with intelligence in all the right ways.  Marsick and Burnett work well off of each other, making for a book that feels complete in every way.

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Erik Cheski, Fanbase Press Contributor



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