The Damned #9 (April 2018)

The Damned #9

After The Damned reprinted–with color–the original Damned sequel now we’re getting a Damned prequel. Literally, it’s a prequel arc to the original Damned. And the first arc in this series. It seemed like the reprint of the sequel series–Prodigal Sons–was to set up the future, but it turns out it was to set up the past.

And it’s a fine past. I mean, it’s Bunn and Hurtt doing pre-Damned Eddie. He, Morgan, Wyrm, and Sophie (I really wish I remembered more about Wyrm and Sophie) are a thirties heist gang holding up the demons. But only Eddie and Morgan know about the demons. Their mom is still alive (albeit on her deathbed).

It’s a new kind of Eddie (an old kind) and some great back story for the relationship between him and Morgan. It seems world-buildy, something Bunn has always struggled with on The Damned. At least, until he got to this series.

The Hurtt art is gorgeous (and heart-breaking). The plotting’s good. It’s not what I was expecting, but it’s a good Damned comic. The Prodigal Sons reprint had me slightly wary. Not anymore.

CREDITS

Bad Ol’ Days, Chapter 1; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editors, Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned #8 (February 2018)

The Damned #8

I’d forgotten how Damned: Prodigal Sons ended. Now it makes sense why it’s included–it was a setup for another series. But it didn’t happen back then.

So in the context of setting up what’s to come in Damned? Sure. It’s a fine arc. Kind of deserved two more issues, as it’s clear Bunn needs the five. I don’t even think the original Damned was five.

There’s some great pacing with Hurtt’s art here. There’s a talking heads action sequence, then a real action sequence. A fight sequence, in fact, with Eddie’s brother kicking demon ass.

Sons works as an arc in an ongoing. It’s still got a lot of problems. But for the finale, the biggest problem is it’s rushed. Bunn needed to spend time with these new characters. A page here or there.

Anyway. Can’t wait for #9 and the return of the new.

CREDITS

Prodigal Sons, Chapter 3; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editors, Randal C. Jarrell and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned #7 (January 2018)

The Damned #7

So, following up on my Damned #6 post. Turns out Prodigal Sons is really just a reprint of the Prodigal Sons limited. It was underwhelming Damned sequel. This time with Bill Crabtree colors.

And, despite the awesome art and colors–Crabtree brings vibrancy to Hurtt’s action–despite those successes, Damned #7 (or Damned: Prodigal Sons Color Edition #2) reminds what’s wrong with the original comic.

It’s way too slight.

There’s a fight, a walking sequence, and a cliffhanger. Nothing else.

Eddie’s brother does the fight. There’s some awesome action, but nothing else. Eddie does the walking. It’s funny–his guide is this (mildly) sarcastic demon–but it’s just a walk. The cliffhanger is slight too.

In some ways, I’m glad. I’ve always thought I was too hard on Prodigal Sons, which kind of ruined The Damned brand back in the day. Hopefully this repeat won’t screw up the book too much. Bunn and Hurtt did magic with the first arc (surpassing the original Damned).

One more colorized rerun to go.

CREDITS

Prodigal Sons, Chapter 2; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editors, Randal C. Jarrell and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned 6 (December 2017)

The Damned #6

Not only is Eddie’s baby brother back, this story arc of The Damned has the same title as the lackluster second series–Prodigal Sons.

Except now it’s great. Because Bunn’s learned how to do his exposition. He’s learned how to pace it, he’s learned what Hurtt does best and how to enable the best possible result. Damned has this easy visual flow, even when it’s disturbing subject matter; there’s only so much danger for protagonist Eddie, but there’s always only so much sympathy for him.

Damned is often fairly bright for noir, yet Bunn’s able to keep that distance from Eddie. The reader’s only so invested in Eddie as protagonist. There are a lot of forces moving around him–demons in this issue–who control things far more than he does. Or can even imagine. Eddie’s not a narrator but his unreliability extends to the reader… it’s impossible to get too worked up about him.

That being said, it’s easy to get worked up about the poor saps Eddie brings into his life, like his palooka brother. The brother, a giant boxer longshoreman type, is played sweet and innocent. He can handle himself in a fight against demons, but he’s a nice guy. Nothing like Eddie. So part of Damned is hoping Eddie isn’t screwing over the people you like.

And knowing there’s little chance he isn’t.

It’s such a good book. And Hurtt’s art is spectacular.

CREDITS

Prodigal Sons, Chapter 1; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editors, Charlie Chu and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned 5 (October 2017)

The Damned #5

The Damned finishes off its first arc, full of sadness and demons and misery. And beautiful Hurtt art. Achingly beautiful Hurtt art.

It’s a wonderful Eddie issue, following him around, everything else–the flashbacks, the subplots–happening in this completely different world. One with possibility. Eddie’s world, as usual, doesn’t have any. Even when he thinks it does.

Great writing from Bunn, which is particularly nice. As I recall the original Damned limited series didn’t end particularly well; this one’s reassuring. Bunn can close it down now, open a window. Such great dialogue throughout. It’s real good.

CREDITS

Ill-Gotten, Chapter 5; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editors, Charlie Chu and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned 4 (September 2017)

The Damned #4

One of the things I always forget about The Damned is just what a shit protagonist Eddie can be. It’s part of the comic’s DNA. Luckily, Bunn hasn’t forgotten. Needless to say, no spoilers, but it’s an excellent issue. There’s an action sequence, there’s a soul-selling flashback, there’s demons, there’s rain–all things Hurtt excels at illustrating. There’s so much weight in every panel. Damned is haunted in the best possible way.

CREDITS

Ill-Gotten, Chapter 4; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned 3 (July 2017)

The Damned #3

Eddie takes his friend Pauly around town to talk to people about Pauly’s score and their deal for redemption. There’s some awesome demon stuff, some character development for Eddie, some excellent gangster banter courtesy Bunn, and, of course, the glorious Hurtt artwork. It’s a fine issue–laying hints for what’s to come–and it’s nice to see Bunn and Hurtt have found their Damned tone again.

CREDITS

Ill-Gotten, Chapter 3; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned 2 (June 2017)

D2

Bunn and Hurtt open the issue with an atmospheric, ominous ride in the car for Eddie. It turns out to be less immediately dramatic and more about Bunn setting up Damned as an ongoing series. Eddie exists in a world with a lot going on; it’s not all about him. As the issue goes on, maybe there’s a little bit too much world-building and exposition, but it’s for Hurtt art so one can’t complain too much. Bunn’s definitely filling the book with content.

CREDITS

Ill-Gotten, Chapter 2; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned 1 (May 2017)

The Damned #1

The Damned is back. Gloriously so. Brian Hurtt art. Gangsters and demons. Who cares if it’s good–it’s good, but when you see a double-page spread of Eddie’s club and it reminds of Casablanca all of a sudden, you know Hurtt’s enough to get it over any of the hurdles. And, really, the only hurdle is Cullen Bunn’s too talky narration. There’s lots and lots of it–which makes sense for the first issue of a relaunch–but it still gets tiring, sensical or not. The plotting’s good, the characters are good, the art’s wonderful. It’s so nice to have Damned back. I didn’t even realize how much I missed it.

CREDITS

Ill-Gotten, Chapter 1; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

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