"Twelve Devils Dancing #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Action Lab: Danger Zone
Written by Erica Schultz
Illustrated by Dave Acosta
Colored by Andrew Covalt
Lettered by Cardinal Rae
2018, 66 Pages, $5.99
Comic released on July 18th, 2018
The FBI thought they got their guy. The dreaded Crypto-Killer had been terrorizing them for some time and at long last, he was revealed as Merrick Winslow. Now, on the eve of his execution, retired FBI agent Callum Cooper, the man who brought Winslow to justice, gets a strange phone call from the real killer. This sets him on a fast-paced hunt that could very well kill him, but Callum has to see this through.
Twelve Devils Dancing wastes no time getting started. This debut issue is already triple-sized and it's packed with story. We're dropped right into Callum's life, both the past and present, sifting through the elements of his youth that set him on the path he's on today. Although his intentions are pure, he's not without flaws. He has some skeletons in his closet, particularly tied to this case. This is a chance for him to right some wrongs.
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The introduction of the real Crypto-Killer begins slowly, showing him in shadows standing in a tattered studio. As the comic continues, we get a better look at him and it's more than a little frightening. This is a hulking brute of a man with horrific burns over most of his body. He reminds me of Vincent D'Onofrio's portrayal of the Kingpin in Netflix's Daredevil. We don't yet know how he got this way or why he's doing this, but hints are dropped throughout this issue that make for some very interesting connections.
There are no supernatural elements at work in Twelve Devils Dancing. Instead the horror comes from this unsettling serial killer and how much he relishes in death and torment. This man is a monster inside and out. Artist Dave Acosta shows this horrifying visage in gruesome detail by the end of this issue.
Colorist Andrew Covalt makes the blood pop off the page in a shocking manner. Since this is set in the real world, it's still an unnatural sight to see blood on display, especially in such large quantities. The violence is quick and shocking.
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Twelve Devils Dancing starts out a little rocky in terms of the artwork, with some awkward poses and strange shaped anatomy. Acosta's pencils get a lot tighter and cleaner as the book goes on. You can see the details come more into focus with each turn of the page. The final chapter is damn near perfect.
There's a lot of information to sift through in this debut issue and it's all coming from multiple characters and perspectives. Letterer Cardinal Rae handles this well, differentiating elements with unique word balloons and fonts. This is especially true for the content coming from radios and TVs.
Twelve Devils Dancing is very reminiscent of True Detective (The first season, not whatever happened in the second). It moves at breakneck speeds, instantly diving into the main character's past and how this serial killer is connected to his life. The final pages of this chapter will have you glued to the page and begging for more.