"The Damned #9" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Oni Press

the damned 9 00

Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Brian Hurtt
Colored by Bill Crabtree
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 18th, 2018

Review:

We've seen Eddie as a jaded night club owner who hates demons and is cursed to come back to life again and again.  With this arc, “Bad Ol' Days,” we'll see what led him down this path.  It's a flashback!  Eddie, along with his brother Morgan, Sophie, and the Wyrm, was once young, dumb, and willing to do anything to make it rich.  That included stealing from demons, which is most definitely going to come back to haunt them.  

The Damned has been a solid read so far I never thought it was necessary to go back and fill in the details of Eddie's past.  The story has just been so good that I've been a long for the ride, wherever it may lead.  Now that “Bad Ol' Days” has started though, I can't wait to see where it goes.  There have certainly been questions about how all these people are connected and judging from this issue, we're going to get a lot of answers.  I'm particularly interested in what happens to Sophie and the Wyrm, as we've seen them in the present day and they've been horrifically transformed.  What happens to turn these two seemingly innocent kids into literal monsters?  

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This issue starts out like a classic gangster / heist story, with the gang robbing a connected poker gang.  As with previous issues, this kind of stuff would be enough to pique your interest based on the way the characters interact and the dire situation they find themselves in.  The story is elevated when it's revealed the mobsters are really demons.  More importantly, only Morgan and Eddie can see through their human disguises.  This shows that even back then, the brothers had a connection to this supernatural world.  

Although Eddie is the main character of The Damned, he's kind of a jerk.  We learn that this was the case back when he and the gang were starting out too.  Eddie plays by his own rules and doesn't share all the information with his colleagues.  This puts everyone in danger, including himself.  It's like he has a death wish.  This is funny considering how many times he's died since the series began.  

It's interesting to see just how young the characters once were.  While they're in the middle of a small crime spree, they're still young and innocent.  This is especially true for Sophie, who looks about 12.  This left me a little uneasy because she's clearly pining over Eddie, who is a grown man, and she's a child.  This could just be how she appears in these scenes though.  
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Click images to enlarge

Eddie doesn't have the scars that would come to cover his face and body after all his deaths, but he still has a cold, uncaring stare.  It's chilling how he can look right through a person or a demon, like they're things and not living, breathing beings.  It's saying something when this normal human is just as scary as the demons.  Morgan is a little softer, also without a ton of scars.  There's still some good in him before it's been squashed out by the world (and Eddie).  I love these little details from artist Brian Hurtt.

The Damned works as a great horror / gangster story, but what amplifies everything about it is the amazing cast.  Writer Cullen Bunn pulls you in with these compelling characters.  You can't help but get wrapped up in their lives.  Since this storyline serves as a prequel to the rest of the series, you know they're all doomed.  Now I have to know how they get to that point.  This is where they could have turned things around and gotten on the straight and narrow, but they took a darker path.   In only the first issue of the arc, The Damned has given me more than I got from the Star Wars prequels.

Grades:

Story: fivestars Cover
Buy from Amazon US
Cover
Buy from Amazon UK
Art: fivestars
Overall: 5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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