Review: Life & Death

Cover by Gareth Luby (line + colour art) and Paul Carroll (Logo/Lettering)

Life & Death is published by (and launched simultaneously with Mixtape)  by Limit Break comics. It features four strips that all have some connection to the theme of  life and death. The anthology also is a flip comic, meaning you have have a cover on each side (both covers by Gareth Luby (line + colour art) and Paul Carroll (Logo/Lettering)) of the comic to enjoy. Carroll writes all four stories with a different artist on each strip.

1. Death and Taxes

Art by Katie Fleming. Written, coloured and lettered by Paul Carroll.

A day at the office slowly goes from bad to worse for Harvey. It’s just one of those days that would have a person thinking they should have just stayed in bed.

As the strip is set in an office, most of the strip features the cast chatting across the office or a table. The art does well in portraying Harvey being slowly worn down by the days events. By the end of the day, his body language just says it all. Colours give the office an air of a place lacking in much energy or excitement.

In the closing panels the preceding pages seem to be given a different perspective as to what was actually happened during the day.

I really liked the art in the strip and it’s a good start to the comic.

2. Wake The Dead

Written, illustrated and lettered by Paul Carroll.

The second strip follow Kenneth as he attempts to preform a resurrection spell. The strip builds up well to its horrifying conclusion.

The room where the spell is taking place is pretty Spartan but some textures in the colours avoid the scene looking flat. One criticism I would have of the artwork is the use of colour instead of a black line (or darker colour to that used) on some of the art. It unfortunately gives the art a washed-out look. On a characters face for example the nose pretty much vanishes, the same with lines marking out individual fingers on a hand.

It was a good horror short and I do enjoy seeing new artists artwork (it’s the first strip I’ve seen Carroll illustrate) which makes it a good addition to the anthology.

And now on to the second side of Life & Death.

3. Mourning Coffee

Art by Gareth Luby. Written, coloured and lettered by Paul Carroll.

This strip is a fun twist on the idea of not feeling human without having your daily coffee.

The concept is something that could work in a longer story. The idea is that all humans are infected with a zombie virus and the only thing that stops the virus from taking hold is a daily dose of coffee infused with anti-toxins.

This is another strip set in an office and the art has plenty of props and background details to give the sense of it being a working office. It also shifts gears nicely when the horror part of the story kicks in. It’s another strip where I really liked the combination of line and colour art.

The strip is an interesting horror story that has some good moments of tension in it.

4. Blood Bounty

Art by Clare Foley. Written and lettered by Paul Carroll.

A lone vampire name Lee makes his way through the city streets, surviving on the animal blood he carries with him while attempting to avoid contact with any humans. Any kind of exertion will deplete any energy gained from the animal blood. Unfortunately for Lee, the city cares little for his plans.

The artwork uses a limited colour range, which is something that works in its favour since it is a story set in alleyways at night. There’s a great control of colour to stop everything becoming indistinguishable from its component parts.

I did enjoy this strip and am curious about the events that created the world that Lee the vampire finds himself trying to survive in.

Life & Death is a good addition to the Limit Break catalogue. Four stories, each with their own distinct visuals means there’s plenty to appeal to potential readers.

You can pick up a copy of Mixtape at Dublin City Comics, Forbidden Planet Dublin or Big Bang Comics, Dundrum. It will also be available at DCAF and Dublin Comic Con. It’s also available via Gumroad.

About contributor.
Comic-loving bookworm. Scribbler of words and images.
Can be found on Twitter @Stephen_C_Ward.