Story: Ryan Ferrier
Art: Alejandro Aragorn
Colors: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Ryan Ferrier
What They Say:
The quest of the ax-swinging wasteland survivor and his crew of rebels careens to an exciting conclusion in a violent final showdown with the mysterious Father and his doomsday cult. Will Rider find his wife? And if he does, what will be left of the American wasteland they live in?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Death Orb isn’t a series that started off with a lot going for it in a way as it was pretty familiar in a lot of what it was setting up. The trappings were appealing to me with the way Alejandro Aragorn put everything together and I really liked some of the elements that Ryan Ferrier brought into the story with the characters and world setting. The story came together a bit more as we got a handle on Rider himself and the whole head that he was carrying around as that made for some good fun. But everything related to Father just felt a bit unfinished in a way that left me wondering what the real idea behind it was.
With this final issue, we get everything wrapping up in a quick and final way but with an open-ended aspect to the core story, which isn’t a surprise as there’s always the hope for more. Things are final for Father, unless cloning is involved somehow, as we see him survive the attempted coup by the elites of him, accusing them of being weak by not being able to finish it off. The downside is that while he does survive and sets things up for his next move, getting into one of the containment units for a bit, he ends up being killed by Shark of all people. It’s a brutal moment when his lower jaw is just ripped out of his head but it didn’t feel like it worked all that well since you expected Rider to be the one to do it since they had built that up for so long. It’s a twist but an unsatisfying one that might have worked better if Shark was more fleshed out.
While we do get some time with others from the group that have survived this long, they don’t really connect well since they’re kind of listless and uncertain here. Most of the book is actually given over to Rider and that’s done with a whole lot of action to it. It’s beautifully executed in the layouts and brutality of it, first with some of the lower level guys he has to deal with and then his fight with Shark, but it’s all just taking him to the point of finding his wife and how it’s driving him in a way that nothing else could. That she’s not actually there, and that the wrapup deals with the world moving away from what Father had setup which didn’t feel cemented to begin with, it has the kind of open ending to it where he’s able to keep going on and looking but without a strong enough hook to make you want to go on that journey.
There are a lot of things I enjoyed in Death Orb over the run but the final installment is one that left me feeling unsatisfied. Shark’s presence and story just felt like it didn’t add anything, everything involving Father and his plan felt unfinished and not fleshed out in a way that made it seem really important, and Rider’s inability to get real closure here is problematic. There are a lot of characters moving about this issue but little of it really resonates. It’s wonderfully illustrated, though, with some great layouts and a strong sense of action that hits very well. But that isn’t enough to really salvage the story itself for me.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: February 20th, 2019