So say you’re a hitman and you find out that you’ve got an untreatable disease that’s gonna kill you in a matter of months, if not weeks. Would you wait idly by and let death take you? Or would throw a dead man’s party and go out on your own terms? What’s a dead man’s party, you ask? Well, it’s when a hitman puts a hit out on himself and leaves the contract open to 5 of the best to take him out. But what happens when the invites are sent and you find out that you might have made a mistake? Do you take the fight to your “Guests”? That’s what Dead Man’s Party is all about.

From the mind of Jeff Marsick and brought to life by the art of Scott Barnett, Dead Man’s Party, a four issue mini series, gives us a new take on the world of contract killing. Ghost is the best assassin in the world. Nothing can touch him….except maybe Cancer. He’s diagnosed with Stage 4 and instead of counting down the days, puts a contract out on himself. The deal is, if you bag Ghost in 30 days, you get his bank account and the bragging rights. But things turn south when he finds out that his situation may not be as fatal as was originally reported. Now he’s got 5 of the best assassins in the world on his tale. So he’s got to watch himself as he tries to figure out who put the ball in play to take him out of the picture. Not an easy task. But the Ghost is up for the challenge.

From what I’ve read of the series (the first issue debuted last year and issue #2 was released this past August), it’s a wild ride. The pacing of the story is quick and the action is tight. Marsick knows how to raise the stakes. And just when you think you’ve got the situation figured out, he introduces a new variable to the equation. And he manages to keep the pace rolling fast and hard without sacrificing any character beats. Ghost is the quintessential perfect killer. He’s never had an obstacle he couldn’t hurdle. Now his luck’s run out and the handicaps to his situation keep piling up. Not since The Button Man have I seen this perfect of a mix of crime noir, spy thriller, and action adventure. The art by Scott Barnett adds to this feeling. It’s the a nice blend of gritty and sleek. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but there is no way to explain it. Never has the dark world of wet work looked so cool. Scott also does a good job of raising the tension of the scenes with his panel layout.

If you’re a fan of crime fiction, action, interesting characters, and mysteries, Dead Man’s Party is for you. You can pick up digital copies of both issues 1 and 2 for 99 cents a piece at their website, DeadMansParty.org. And if you’re going to the New York Comic Con, why not stop by their table and pick ’em up in print for $3.99 each. Maybe get Jeff and Scott to sign ’em for you. They’ll be in the Small Press Area at Booth #2163. Tell ’em Geek Hard sent you.

Check out the first five pages of issue #2 of Dead Man’s Party Below.

And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!