Slayer - "Repentless Comic Issue #1" (Book)
Reviewed by xFiruath on February 9, 2017
The "Repentless" video trilogy is easily one of the most ambitious music video series in heavy metal history, offering surprisingly high production values, big name actors, and some crazy gore effects. Slayer knocked it out of the park on the video front, which makes anticipation high for the three issue comic book series from Dark Horse.
Issue #1 is packed with tons of imagery from the music video series (remember the guy on the kitchen floor filled with knives from head to toe or the prison riot that started it all?). This debut issue doesn't skimp on the blood and guts - one baseball bat scene in particular has echoes of Negan from The Walking Dead – and there's a whole lot of throat cutting. One truly psychotic villain absentmindedly slices off faces to wear as masks while happily carrying on a phone conversation as though nothing is out of the ordinary about his task at hand.
On the story front, "Repentless" revolves around family and betrayal as two Aryan brothers go to war when one leaves the cause of racial purity behind. This former white supremacist loses his eye in a street brawl and rethinks his life, eventually falling in love with a black woman – which the rest of his former crew clearly can't accept.
Along the way the dialog is peppered with Slayer lyrics like “God Hates Us All” and even the band members themselves make an appearance as bikers in a dusty backwater bar. There's no question that Slayer fans who also can't get enough of comics will be right at home here.
After having read the first issue a few times, my only criticism really is the whirlwind pacing of this beginning story segment, which jumps around and covers the music videos rapidly over just a few pages. With no time to catch your breath and not a lot of explanation, the story is a bit convoluted at the start and you may have to read through more than once to fully grasp who each character is and what's happening.
Readers who haven't seen the music video series in particular may be left scratching their heads, wondering what all this is about and why there are neo-nazis with giant swastikas on the wall in a Slayer comic. That same fast pace also makes it hard to empathize with the protoganist. Obviously the base position of Nazi skinhead = bad will tell you who to root for, but there wasn't really time to get to know or care about Wyatt's wife before she was murdered, which waters down the revenge aspect.
Pacing aside, "Repentless" is a relentlessly brutal experience that easily matches the source material. With the biker/revenge road trip theme on display, Sons Of Anarchy fans are going to enjoy what's going on here, as well as anyone who appreciates some serious gore. Issue #1 is just setting the stage for the violent battle to come in the next two issues, which will move us more beyond the boundaries of the source material, and I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing what happens next.
Highs: Great art and eye-popping visuals on the gore front
Lows: The beginning pacing is too fast and convoluted as a large amount of story is covered in too small a space.
Bottom line: Did you love the "Repentless" music videos? You are certain to dig the comic series as well!
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