Story: Mark Russell
Art: Benjamin Tiesma
Colors: Vladimir Popov
Letterer: Jim Campbell
What They Say:
A swap meet throws a marriage into crisis and threatens to undermine the faithful of Lost Turkey. The healing powers of a rom-com are required.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Mark Russell definitely got my attention with the first installment of this series, especially where I was chastising myself for saying that calling it a kind of serialized Twilight Zone concept doesn’t do it justice and feels lazy. But at the same time, it does work as a good shorthand that should entice people to check it out. Especially with Benjamin Teisma’s artwork. Here, he gets to really work some good stuff by dealing with the mundanity of the real world with strong style and design but also getting to bring to life the Deadbox movies with all the variety one can bring to how a film is presented.
With this installment, we continue to see how Penny is doing her best to care for her dad but we also see the way Big Pharma gets involved in controlling the situation. The next round of meds she needs come after the introductory price has worn off and it’s increased to over $500. And that’s half their mortgage, which according to the pharmacist makes her a motivated consumer that will figure out how to make the money. She does do some work in trying to figure out how to get help from the pharma company itself – they do offer that – but they’re playing the same game. It’s only potentially some help from a sympathetic phone operator that may ease things, but it’s hard to tell if it’s genuinely going to work or if it just makes things worse.
There’s also a subplot that goes on here with Bobbie and Katie, a married couple that Penny knows who ended up at a flea market of sorts. He gets excited when he sees a pair of purple pants that he had as a lark in college and buys them and tries them on, surprised they fit. But when the seller reveals that they’re women’s pants, everything falls apart. Katie kicks him to the curb, believes he’s gay, and just comes completely undone. Because it says in the bible not to wear clothes of the opposite gender. So she believes he’s going to lose his place in heaven where they would be together for all time and it’s just done her in while he’s having a hard time really grasping how this has unfolded so quick and so hard. As all of this plays out while a story about belief unfolds in the Deadbox “romcom” about apes and competitive scientists, it reinforces it well and makes clear just how trainable we all are.
Deadbox continues to be an interesting project, though the movie within it that Katie rents didn’t do much for me since it was just so blunt. There are comical aspects to it and it does work to reinforce the events in the real world, it was the weakest part of the book for me. The material with Penny and the pharmacist is rage-inducing and see how Bobbie and Katie’s relationship falls apart so quickly over such a small thing, even in context, just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Russell presents it well and delivers some solid material for it with Tiesma really capturing the flavor of all three stories and some of their more surreal elements just right.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Vault Comics
Release Date: October 13th, 2021