Comics: Death Of Stalin - Reviewed

Fear drives everyone mad. That’s the conclusion one will come to after reading the fantastic Death of Stalin. Opening on an orchestra performance that is listened over the radio by Stalin himself, the story shows the psychological damage inflicted on all segments of society due to Soviet tyranny. 

We see individuals become scared out of their wits when they realize that the performance was not recorded, right after Stalin having requested a recording of the performance. This single event jumpstarts the story and sets the tone quickly and concisely without losing a beat. 

In a hilariously twisted way, as the Politburo later argue and moan about calling doctors over to take a look at the ill-stricken Stalin, we see how no one is willing to take responsibility and get the job done. The point that hits home with the reader is that these guys are so possessed by feelings of terror and doom that they can’t even take a dump without a committee meeting. 

And even when Stalin is dead, his presence continues to haunt the Soviet Central Committee from beyond the grave. As the ending shows, the pattern of intrigue and paranoia initiated by Stalin shows no sign of subsiding and that the ramifications of his evil will be felt long after his funeral, which itself ends up becoming a blood-soaked affair for no good reason at all. 

With a powerful blend of dark comedy and suspense building, Fabien Nury crafts an excellent dark political satire out of actual historical events. Dramatic license is taken at appropriate times, and it only serves to strengthen the impact of the story being told. Thierry Robin continues his excellent work from Death to the Tsar, and I dare say that his work here is even better. 

-Berk Koca