Death’s Door takes place in the 17th century, when Death did a favor for Abaddon, the head of the angelic forces. After procuring a replacement scythe and a favor from the Horsemaster, Death arrives in France to deal with the threat. This threat is someone who Death fought side by side with in the War for Heaven. After the battle, Death reported what happened to Abaddon. Death is suspicious of the explanation, but accepts it for now. This series also reveals the origin of how Death received his horse, Despair.
What works is the brevity. In about 80 pages, a fairly complete story is told, with all necessary plot information and details. While it did fail in making me want to play the companion game, I do know more about the main character. Death is an infinitely more interesting character than his brother War.
The character design and subject feels right for a video game, but it feels outdated for a comic book. The subject, heaven and hell as a bureaucracy with strict timetables and political backstabbing, is a bit dated. It was popular in the late 90s, but not so much today. All of the characters are over-stylized, and tremendous detail is given to things that do not matter. This is mostly because Joe Maduriera, the creator of cult comic book hit Battle Chasers, did all of the character designs. It’s not a problem if you love that character design. I’m not a fan of it, but it didn’t detract from the overall story.
The main problem with this series is that it would have been better served as downloadable content. It is an intriguing part of the storyline, but it’s not entirely important. My suspicion is that it would have been DLC if the designers had time to work on it at some point, but they did not and decided to make it into a comic book tie-in. It’s a shame because it would have been nice to play through some of the events.
Final Verdict: Positive.
Although I’m indifferent to the game series, this graphic novel works. I’ve learned more about the game world and some of the players in it. The series was a fun read and I hope Dark Horse comes back to this universe at some point.
Images taken from Darkhorse.com