Before anything else, it needs to be said that changing the title of this book from “One Month to Live” to “1 Month 2 Live” is a decision that I hope had to do with trademark issues, because it’s a huge step down. It’s painful to look at, but more importantly it something we need to get out of the way at the beginning so we can all move past it.
Now, then, “1 Month 2 Live” is a weekly mini-series from Marvel for the month of September with a fairly simple premise: a man discovers he has a terminal form of cancer that will kill him in a month, but in the process develops super powers. And from there? Well, I’m sure you can see where this story is heading.
There are parts of the story I appreciate. Rick Remender (who also created the story outline with editor Stephen Wacker, although Rob Williams, Stuart Moore, and John Ostrander will write issues #2-4 before Remender returns for the conclusion) early on doesn’t hit you over the head with the relationship Dennis and Abbey have with their niece Kelly, but instead just lets it play out. And when Dennis gets to deliver bad news to a hospital that’s losing promised funding for a sculpture garden, it’s nice to not see the director simply roll over and go with the bad news.
But in terms of the broad strokes, it feels a little too simple, a little too easy. Not only in the accident that accelerates Dennis’s cancer, but also his journey in determining how he should use his powers. It’s such a fast sequence of events that it ends up being a little hard to believe. Only Kelly seems immune to the “everything must happen in an ultra-compressed fashion” timeline for the second half of the debut issue, and while I understand that Remender is trying to play up Dennis’s urgency to get things rolling now that he has a death sentence attached to himself, it feels a little too fast, complete with the job-quitting cliche scene from every average Hollywood movie.
Andrea Mutti provides the art for this issue, and some of the bigger details work out well here. I like the way Mutti draws basic body types, and on some of the panels people’s faces feel almost like they’re sculpted into being, the tough jaw lines and shoulders working out well. On the other hand, Mutti draws Reed Richards’s face like he was also beaten up, Dennis seems to have a generic superhero six-pack set of abs, and there are an awful lot of vacant expressions in this book. When Mutti hits pay dirt, it looks great, but on other pages it doesn’t quite hit the mark.
“1 Month 2 Live” has potential, especially with the plethora of creators lined up for the issues to come. But the first issue is a rough, slightly below average start, and for a weekly series it’s going to need to raise its game fast in order to keep readers on board. I can see burn-out setting in fairly quickly if “1 Month 2 Live” doesn’t use its ticking time clock in its favor.