Viper Comics’ 72-Page Trade-Paperback Orpheus, hits stands later this month and comes with the warning: Mature Content. Don’t let this get you too excited. There are no acts of extreme violence or tasteless nudity. Just an ethereal story told through utterly captivating watercolors. Orpheus is the story of Orpheus Neuman: The World’s Greatest Escape Artist.
The book begins with his final failed escape. When he meets Death (one of her forms is a nod to Gaiman’s Death), he is angry. Not because he has died, but because he feels cheated and set-up. Death gives him an opportunity to view his world for three days and if he can find the person that murdered him; trade places. As you can imagine, being allowed to view the people in his life while they think they are alone is a very eye-opening experience.
Dale Mettam, (Battlesmash, Sidekickin’) has stepped a little outside of his usual fare for Viper with this comic and the mature theme suits him. He was able to take a step back and focus more on the atmosphere. Of course, I was immediately drawn to the artwork of this comic. I found myself searching every panel for every detail. The subtle watercolors of the dark world that Sallamari Rantala created are utterly captivating. Rantala and Mettam are not afraid to use an entire page to show an expression or feeling. It really makes you savor the enigma surrounding the story. And with Rantala being fairly new to the comic book world, it is a pleasant surprise. I look forward to her future work.
I can honestly say when the inevitable painful end comes that is to be expected when one tries to make a deal with Death, I was truly sad. Well done.