UK war comic must-read, "To the Death #1": When the world simply has no room for a hero...

Writer: Simon Furman, Art: Geoff Senior, Letters: Jim Campbell

Aleksy Dryagin — aka "Komodo" — is a career 'Pacifier', who fights off-world wars on planets he doesn't even know the name of in order to capture assets he cannot even claim to understand in order to support the private interests of the omniscient and ultra-acquisitive mega company "Tri-Corp", to whom everything and everyone is nothing more than a revenue stream.

The average life expectancy of a Pacifier is about two years, and the bitter end is pretty much all a Pacifier has to look forward to when all is said and done. However Komodo and his team are already bucking that trend and now he's getting worried — not because he can hear the clock ticking down to his eventual demise — but because he's had the temerity to survive long enough that he's started asking questions of the sort that no soldier is suppose to ask: what he does, why, for who, and whether it's justified.

The fact Komodo has survived so long has also made him a hero to the downtrodden masses of Earth who watch his battles via live streaming. The people love him, and that creates a problem for Tri-Corp, because the company has no room for heroes — because heroes give people hope, and people who hope aspire, and people who aspire are much more difficult to exploit.

Aleksy Dryagin has outgrown his use as a corporate asset. Death is coming for him as he always knew it would, and though it wears a different face than the one he expected, he's still determined to go down fighting — and when Aleksy Dryagin fights it is always to the death!

To the Death #1 is the first issue of what will be a ten issue maxi-series from legendary UK scribe Simon Furman and artist Geoff Senior, who are perhaps best known for their stellar work in the '80s and '90s on titles like The Transformers and Death's Head for Marvel comics now defunct UK imprint.

To the Death is like stepping back in time for a UK based comic book fan like myself who grew up on stories written by Simon Furman, and whilst the influence of his previous work is plain to see, it is perhaps surprising that it is one of his lesser known creations — Dragon's Claws — that is most apparent, with its themes of war as a tool of the corporate hostile takeover, and mass killing being reduced to little more than on-screen entertainment to keep the unwashed masses content and compliant, whilst set in an overcrowded, visceral, dystopian sci-fi future where human beings have been reduced to the status of commodities.

Although undoubtedly most famous for his comic book work, since the '90s Geoff Senior's "real" job has primarily been as a storyboard artist and animator for his own advertising agency, so seeing him collaborate once more with Furman on-page is a rare treat.

Senior's art remains as dynamic and exciting as it ever was, and he continues to prove himself an expert at building a fluid and kinetic action sequence, but he has also clearly developed his style in the interim as his characters here are much softer and far less geometric than long time fans of his will have come to expect.

Presented in a glossy prestige format edition, composed of 48 full-colour pages crammed with action, populated with larger-than-life characters, and taking place in a fascinatingly dark, totalitarian future where people are controlled by corporations through products, advertising, and the media, To the Death is not to be missed!


Dragons Claws #1-10 (Marvel Comics )

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