"The Damned #3" 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 July 26th, 2017
There's no questioning the fact that Eddie has had a tough life...or lives. He was finally settling into what could pass for normal in a world where demon gangsters buy and sell human souls when his old friend Pauly Bones flew into town with some gambling winnings. He had picked up a strange artifact and every demon in town wants to get their hands on it. Now Eddie and Pauly are playing hot potato, trying to wheel and deal for this ancient key to free some souls, but they may end up in the crosshairs as a result.
Although Eddie and Pauly are essentially criminals themselves, they mean well. Pauly wants to use the artifact as leverage to help his old flame, Deidra, who is literally cursed. Eddie has some skeletons in his closet that he's hoping to take care of. These men are so haunted by their past, it’s like they're struggling to stay ahead of all the baggage that's following them wherever they go, like a ball and chain.
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This brings them to some dangerous places and people, in this case, the Verlochin. We've seen all sorts of demons in The Damned, but these may be the most unsettling. Artist Brian Hurtt illustrates them as these massive beings that tower over Eddie and Pauly. They're almost like a deformed version of the Watcher from the Marvel Universe, dark and twisted, with glowing red eyes. This is what evil looks like.
It doesn't help matters that they meet in a dusty old house that might as well be haunted. Cobwebs hang from the rafters and the place is in general disarray. I guess demons don't care much about cleanliness, or at least the Verlochin don't. Maybe it adds to their mystique.
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You could take the artifact and the demons and replace them with a few kilos of cocaine and some generic gangs and you'd have a movie that you've probably seen before. Two guys get in potentially over their head to try to make a few bucks – or in this case, save a few souls – and things get progressively more violent as time goes on. We're still in the early stages, although there are plenty of bullets flying in this issue. I expect the tension to rise as the rival gangs get more desperate for this key, particularly when we find out what the heck it does.
Although one could argue the plot is reminiscent of a stereotypical gangster movie, The Damned has more than enough to pull you in. Eddie alone is a character you can't help but watch, wondering what move he'll make and how he'll survive in a town filled with monsters. With his signature scowl, I'm sure demons would hesitate before attacking him. He has good intentions, but he's still a gangster, and who doesn't love a good gangster story?