1 out of 5
Happening across another All Time Comics entry on Floating World’s website, I was psyched to think of this mini comics universe generating a continual (if sporadic) stream of one-shots or mini-series; its rather purposefully ramshackle nature would seem to lend itself well to such random projects, not exactly being married to a distinct artistic look or, certainly, any tight continuity. The guiding principle just seems to be to embrace the weird camp of the Golden Age, and then inject it with some DIY spirit.
I suppose ‘True Til Death’ does that, perhaps mimicking some ancient EC-style crime comic, but the former entries’ oddball vibe is absent; Shaky Kane seems like a perfect addition to the ATC crew, but his style is rather especially restrained, here, perhaps limited by a way-too-linear story about Crime Destroyer tracking down a puritanical, religious-organization-bombing straight edge group. Jason T. Miles / Josh Simmons’ script is nice and loose, bopping along in a tone that’s unclearly mocking and/or serious – this is in line with All Time’s style – but there’s also zero charm or surprise to it. It never becomes a B-movie, and its various inclusions of manipulative preachers and undercover reports and purple-clad motorcycle bikers feel… forced. Like the naturally trashy or bad vibe of the other comics has been smoothed out into something that reads like it’s trying to hit its various indie book marks. Compounding this – and the lack of energy in the art – is the way a lot of script cues don’t mingle with the story at all. This can be purposeful, or it can be sloppy, but when it’s a mix of both – when the line is blurred – it detracts from the story’s readability.
It’s over-sized, wordy, and not especially visually exciting. I’m still hopeful for more ATC entries, but I also hope the next one is able to tap back in to the entertaining unpredictability of the previous issues.