Dia De Los Muertos #3 marks the end of Riley Rossmo meditation on death and memory; and compiles a trio of stories that leaves you wanting more.
As someone who grew up celebrating Dia De Los Muertos, I was worried when I heard Riley Rossmo would be curating a three-issue Image series inspired by this beloved Mexican holiday. It’s not that I didn’t like Rossmo’s work, but I’ve mostly followed him on Bedlam and I was afraid he’d bring that sensibility to a holiday that’s not about horror, but homecoming. But with the final installment of this run, one thing has become clear: Rossmo found a great balance. Yes, there’s horror. But Dia de Los Muertos #3 is mostly about love and memory.
Here’s the official description from Image:
Inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead, artist extraordinaire, RILEY ROSSMO, interprets stories from three of today’s top writers. From KURTIS WIEBE (PETER PANZERFAUST) comes a heartbreaking love story–in this world or the next. JOE KEATINGE (GLORY, HELL YEAH) offers up Day of the Dead 3000. As Ultra Muertos falls at the hands of Mother Slaughter, his grandson takes over the mantle with a death wish for all-out apocalypse! And New York Times bestselling author ALEXANDER GRECIAN (PROOF) tells a tale of ghost children.
“Return of the Dead,” written by Alex Grecian really grabbed me. Grecian penned a compelling story without the use of dialogue — a trick that puts tons of pressure on Rossmo’s art, but Russmo delivers. “Lonesome” by Kurtis Wiebe spins the traditional haunting story on its head in a way that works; and “Day of the Dead 3000” by Joe Keatinge attempts to mix comic-book tropes with Dia De Los Muertos iconography, but in a way that doesn’t satisfy.
Dia De Los Muertos #3 showcases Rossmo’s artistic range, which is considerable. Illustrating all three stories Rossmo shifts his style to match the narrative, and does so well. “Return of the Dead” has the washed out feel you’d expect from a ghost story; in “Lonesome,” a story about what’s underneath the surface of reality, Rossmo lets the pencils show; and in “Day of the Dead 3000” he goes full-blown comic style.
Dia De Los Muertos #3 is a strong issue, and marks the end of a compelling concept project. And one I’ll miss.