"The Damned #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Oni Press
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Brian Hurtt
Colored by Bill Crabtree
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 14th, 2017
Eddie has had his fill of demons. He sold his soul to one a long time ago. Granted, he did get the peculiar ability to come back to life out of the deal, so it wasn’t all bad. Now he runs the Gehenna Room, a human-only club. The demon mob families are barred from entry. This becomes a problem when Eddie’s old friend Pauly Bones flies into town with a mysterious package that has all the demons searching for him.
If the idea of a mob town filled with demons sounds cool, you’d be correct. The Damned is a solid noir tale in its own right. The addition of the supernatural elements grounds it in horror and greatly expands the possibilities. Any normal problem that someone like Eddie would have becomes exponentially more difficult with the inclusion of demons.
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This makes the rival families all the more intimidating. Take Big Al for example. He’s a brute of a demon that fits the stereotypical mold of a devil with massive horns, pointed ears, and red skin, yet he’s smartly dressed in a three piece suit complete with cufflinks. When we first see him, he’s in shadows lighting a cigar.
Artist Brian Hurtt somehow makes Big Al look even more powerful and menacing with such a small, subtle action. Bill Crabtree’s colors add an air of mystery to him, as he’s partially in darkness with his yellow eyes and portions of his red skin showing. His horns become intertwined with tree branches in the shadow.
You’d think that someone like Big Al would be the scariest thing in this book, but Eddie gives him a run for his money. This is a tough guy in the truest sense of the word. Eddie is all rough edges, which is understandable since he’s died more times than he can count. His face and body are scarred from the lives he’s led and he carries a permanent glare of suspicion for everyone around him, even those he’s well acquainted with. Eddie takes no shit from anyone, including Big Al.
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Eddie seems to appreciate order in his world of chaos. Pauly Bones is a monkey wrench in those well-laid plans. There was an uneasy truce between his club and the neighboring demons that is called into jeopardy with Pauly’s appearance. This is a man that is clearly in over his head and he doesn’t know it yet. Unfortunately, this could mean that he pulls Eddie down with him in an effort to save himself.
The Damned has the makings of a sprawling crime / horror epic. It seamlessly weaves between aspects of both genres, taking normal gangster tropes and upping the ante with the supernatural twist. If it follows in the footsteps of the creative team’s previous work, The Sixth Gun, then we’re in for an incredible and extended ride. It’s just so damn good.