From the Suicide Squad to the Punisher the idea of the Anti-Hero has always been a big draw for me. I’ve always been pulled towards the characters who are not only reluctant heroes, but downright dysfunctional in their methods. My first comics I picked up on my own were the origins of Wolverine and Weapon X and when I really began to delve into the hobby I quickly fell in love with the Ghost Rider. The local comic spotlight for this week follows the same type of path as the Spirit of Vengeance, and that is David C. Hayes’ mass murderer turned horrific hero, The Rot.
I started with art last week so I will take on the writing first this time. The Rot covers the death and unlife of Dwight Cochran, a prison inmate serving multiple life sentences for the reported 500 confirmed kills he has completed in as a contract killer. More importantly, he has stage four cancer making him more likely to die in a month. It was difficult to pinpoint in the book, but it seems the scientist in the prison may have given him cancer in order to test out a new super soldier type serum on him. Things go incredibly wrong, as these things often do, and Cochran is thrust out of the prison and reborn as The Rot, a horrific being able to cause anyone he contacts to rapidly decompose.
The writing covers a very important point that has been made in previous comics about super serums in that every part of the man is enhanced, the good and the bad. The comic delves into not only the terrible childhood and past that Cochran had but in the deep connection to religion he has gained since his diagnosis. When the serum takes affect, his abilities has a killer are definitely. enhanced, but his deep rooted hatred for what he determines as the wicked is enhanced as well. This plays out in great biblical references throughout the book as his enhanced mind begins to grapple with defining not only his role in the world but the nature of true evil. This book has some of the greatest writing I have seen and Hayes seems to have a wonderful grasp of building a scene.
As I have stated previously, I am not an art critic and should not be thought of as such but I figured the more I look into comic art the more depth I could give in reviewing it for an audience. Apparently not as I was completely floored by every single panel in this book. Sean Seal uses color and texture in such a way to perfectly draw your eye in while showing you complex scenes. I especially like the way he uses light and darkness as Cochran’s body is grey and brown but his eyes glow deep green. If for some reason you are not impressed during the first couple pages, you will come upon a page where Cochran’s irradiated body sits between depictions of heaven and hell. At that time, I hope you are not standing because you will be on the floor like I almost was.
I was actually a little skeptical when I heard about this book at first. It was billed as a man who could project his own cancer onto people which sounded a little odd and overly dark. I promise you that you, though, you will not be disappointing by this book. From the writing to the art, this is a wonderful piece of fiction. If you would like to learn more you can find David C. Hayes at his website and Sean Seal at his website and you can pick up The Rot at Source Point Press