It’s called a Dead Man’s Party: an assassin puts a contract out on his own head and a select group of peers have thirty days to fulfill it. For the world-renowned hitman known only as Ghost, ordering a Party is a last resort, a way to go out on his terms, at the top of his game.
The invitations are sent, the killers are coming…
And that’s when things go horribly wrong.
Writer/Creator: Jeff Marsick
Artist/Creator: Scott Barnett
I’m a sucker for organized crime stories, may they be about the mob, gangsters or hired assassins, so I’m probably a bit predisposed to liking a book about hit-men in the first place, especially when there’s an original element thrown into the mix. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with a straight forward hit-man story. I’m a big fan of more than a few of those. But Marsick and Barnett have constructed a story that’s equal parts action, noir and thriller, and manages to incorporate a few twists and turns at the same time.
The title of Dead Man’s Party comes from the book’s unique concept: a hit-man has the option of going out with a bit of dignity when the time comes, calling a hit on themselves. The contract must be fulfilled by his peers within 30 days, and the winner gets the hit’s Swiss bank account. And in the case of Ghost, the main character of Dead Man’s Party, the bank account is presumably pretty sizable. In itself, the idea of the Dead Man’s Party letting an assassin go out with a bang is enough to have me hooked on this book. It’s a fantastic premise, and hit-man versus hit-man stories are always fun, but things very quickly become much more complicated for Ghost.
In a lot of ways, Dead Man’s Party reminds me of Frank Miller’s Sin City. While Barnett’s art is different— the only similarity being the choice of black and white— the writing reminds me of That Yellow Bastard and John Hartigan. The story is somewhat gritty in the same way, without being distracting, as some of the over the top violence in Sin City often was. It’s one of the things this book has going for it: Marsick and Barnett know when to use violence in the story— and it’s a story about a hit-man, so of course things are going to get bloody— but not to the point of excess. With two issues of four available right now, it feels like the story is just ramping up for Ghost and that it’s going to be a hell of a ride.
For more information on Dead Man’s Party, visit www.deadmansparty.org, or if you’re going to be at New York Comic Con this weekend, like myself and Lina, Dead Man’s Party will be in the Small Press Area at Booth #2163!