THE DEATH-RAY gets an 8.2 on Paste

“Comic Book & Graphic Novel Round-Up ” / Paste Magazine / Garrett Martin / November 2, 2011

Rating: 8.2
Yep, this is the same Death-Ray that ran in Eightball #23 back in 2004, only now in a nice oversized hardcover edition. It’s still a gloomy Bildungsroman about teenage disillusionment and vigilante justice, focusing on an arrogant and mostly friendless teenager who gets superpowers from a forbidden vice in the late 1970s. Egged on by his angry punk friend, he uses those powers to beat up bullies and other wrong-doers. Eventually he discovers the weapon of the title, which immediately blinks its target out of existence, and the stakes are raised from mere beatings to weighing judgment on the merits of existence itself. Clowes’ literary superhero tale scatters its story into a number of vignettes, aping the styles of various comic genres while tracking one outcast’s increasing separation from society. Clowes examines the combination of condescension, guilt, and self-righteousness common to both adolescence and superhero vigilantism, while also working in a bit of middle-aged disappointment via the present-day framing device. It’s a brief read given the price, but likely one you won’t soon forget. (GM)

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