REVIEW: ‘Murderworld: Game Over,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Murderworld Game Over #1 - But Why Tho

Murderworld: Game Over #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Jim Zub and Ray Fawkes, layouts by Netho Diaz, pencils and inks by Lorenzo Tametta, colors by Matt Milla, and letters by Cory Petit. This is the last part of the series, with two survivors left barely standing. At the end of the last issue, Black Widow stood before them for the rescue. But that does not mean they are safe.

This is a comic that has been unflinching from start to finish. Zub and Fawkes have not shied away from anything, and that does not end in the last issue of this miniseries. In fact, it gets worse. What has changed is it’s easier to be clued up to the potential for gamesmanship. Whilst still shocking, it’s like being aware of how a magician performs their trick. There is one last fight that is grueling and brutal, perhaps rawer than any of those that have come before. But when it moved toward the final pages, this last chapter left me feeling slightly cold and numb. After a lot of death and journeys, what we got as a conclusion does not pack a gut punch nor a real chance at satisfaction. The last page may be the saddest part, but then hints at sequels squandered it.

The heartbreaking aspect of the comic came from the conclusion of many character arcs. Shifting to the last person to not have narrated, Alex the paramedic, his backstory and entrance into Murderworld is devastating. He seems like a genuinely good person, obviously twisted and broken by the harrowing experience he’s faced. But answers later on show mistakes and lies from a man that has seemed like the nice guy of the group.

The dialogue does have its positives. I found Alex explaining the injuries he’s picked up to be a grounding and sobering moment. And one of the reveals is something that may have been realised before, but with a little recap, it’s so much more painful. And at the core of the whole Murderworld series is Arcade. He is a noisy character and pure evil, which must be a lot of fun to write. Whilst he has been rambling and aggrandising for many issues, his manipulations in the last part of the issue are a reminder of his horror right until the very end of the story. But even he doesn’t get an ending of proper worth.

The art in this last part is great. The violence is devastating and it is largely through the presentation. The tragic facial expressions and intensity of the brawl don’t shy away from any detail. Tametta also appears to be the first artist to draw Arcade’s staff with dot-like eyes, instead of larger and more expressive alternatives. It creates a sinister look on their faces. Arcade has a smarmy face that makes you want to punch him, but he is always in a place of safety where that can’t happen. Both Alex and Marina look almost inhuman at points, worn down and battered.

The colors are fantastic. Inside Arcade’s production room, everything is orange. His hair, the uniforms of the workers, even the TV screens mounted on every wall. It’s intense and overbearing, just as unwelcome as every other part of the comic. But elsewhere there are more natural shades, keeping the grittiness of the situation as grounded as possible. The letters have been very easy to read throughout the series.

Murderworld: Game Over #1 is a well-made but deflating conclusion. The message that Zub and Fawkes are lacing through the plot is delivered effectively, passing comments on reality shows. There’s a depressing discussion to be had about how production companies and the media edit their programming and how the general public treats participants. The book is clever and deserves credit for that, putting that exploration in a brutal comic book analogy.

But this ending just does not give the book any form of satisfaction. I don’t feel rewarded for finishing it, just sad and hollow. There are hints at something of a sequel, but not enough incentive to want one. It’s been an emotionally draining ride through Murderworld, and it is disappointing for it to end in this way. Black Mirror shows how you can make negative endings work, but this attempt at the same in the comic book falls flat.

Murderworld: Game Over #1 is available where comics are sold.

Murderworld: Game Over #1


Murderworld: Game Over #1 is a well-made but deflating conclusion.

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