"The Damned #8" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Oni Press
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Brian Hurtt
Colored by Bill Crabtree
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on February 7th, 2018
When we last saw Eddie, his corpse was being thrown about like a bizarre game of hot potato. As a reminder, Eddie will “steal” the life of the next person that touches him, so no one wants to lay hands on the body. Demon crime boss Bruno Roarke intends to put an end to Eddie's cycle of reincarnation and get rid of this thorn in his side once and for all. Eddie's brother, Morgan, has to hurry up if he wants to put a stop to that.
While all this is going on in the land of the living, Eddie is walking through the land of the dead having a very different experience. He killed himself in an effort to find his mother's soul and save it from eternal suffering. This messed with the rules a bit and the extended stay has put him in touch with some shady characters. That's saying something considering he's in the underworld.
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A hulking, naked demon has captured Eddie and he's pulling him around with a chain around the man's neck. Meanwhile, smaller creatures lurk nearby like spectators waiting for a show. This setting is nearly devoid of color, as if the life has been drained from the world. That's fitting, as that's literally how Eddie got here. Colorist Bill Crabtree creates a tone of hopelessness and desperation. It's clear this is a place that no one would ever want to go, yet Eddie voluntarily came here to try and save his mother.
There are some stunning revelations at the end of The Damned #8. The final one left my jaw on the floor. This is the kind of expert-level storytelling Cullen Bunn is known for. He can weave a thread so well that when a surprise hits, it packs a major punch. Sometimes things are more subtle, with implied connections that drop hints for future stories. That is the case with the other big reveal in this issue. It left me with some questions, but they're all good and definitely fill me with excitement.
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The two storylines parallel each other as Morgan bargains with Roarke in this world and Eddie bargains with the naked demon in the next. Conveniently, the two merge at just the right time. This shows that although they have their differences and they don't get along, the brothers are more alike than they'd care to admit.
This is also emphasized in the opening pages, showing a scene from their past as they bury their father. While they have both suffered a loss, Eddie is more pragmatic and jaded than his younger brother. Morgan still has an innocence to him that can only be found in a child. Artist Brian Hurtt captured this perfectly, especially when the tears start flowing. This contrasts with Eddie's gruff demeanor, even at a young age.
Guys, I don't know what else to tell you about The Damned. If you're not reading it, you're missing out. This comic is a showcase of a creative team that's firing on all cylinders. They did it with The Sixth Gun and they're doing it here.