Tonight’s review was suggested by the creator, something I always enjoy. Christopher wrote me a great email, and very politely asked if I would check out his work and see what I thought. His work, Dead Heaven, is more of a traditional graphic novel type webcomic, that seems deeply rooted in that style of printed book, but presents well online too.
I’ve read through the entire first ‘chapter’ and part of the second. To say this webcomic is…disturbing, would be a bit of an understatement. But, the characteristics that make it so, also make it awesome. I will readily admit that the story itself unfolds in a mildly disjointed manner, but it seems clear that the various tendrils will eventually intertwine at some point in the future.
This webcomic is brutal; both in terms of the concepts at hand, as well as the graphic nature of the more violent panels. However, the violence is in support of building particular characters, and nothing seems excessive or frivolous. Artistically, I really enjoy the characters, backgrounds, action; everything. Facial expressions are believable, the world is immersible, and the violence is gory. Subtle, at least visually, Dead Heaven is not. There is a bit more finesse to be found in the dialogue, but even here the characters large personalities usually come through full force.
I devoured everything I read in one sitting, and can’t wait to go back and read more. There are a few bones I have to pick, most notably with the site itself, as well as the story progression. The initial chapters skips around – a lot. While I can appreciate the depth and diversity of the story being developed, I feel like Christopher would be better served spending a little more time developing the characters in play more broadly before moving on to the next sub-chapter. It all just feels a little…rushed. But, that’s a small quibble really. My main issue is with the website. It does not live up to the high standards set out by the comic itself. It is drab, boring, not user friendly, and in some areas, downright unusable. As I have pointed out with other comics, the site surrounding the comic is nearly as important as the comic itself, and the work really gets…let down…when the site isn’t as good as it should be.
At any rate, Dead Heaven is a unique work with a violent streak that is definitely worth checking out, especially for the stellar artwork and backgrounds.