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The Damned #1

by Forrest.H on May 03, 2017

Written by: Cullen Bunn
Art: Brian Hurtt
Colors: Bill Crabtree
Letters: Crank!
Publisher: Oni
This first issue of The Damned, technically a standalone but also relying on a previous mini-series, oozes a finely-honed noir aesthetic but first time readers might feel lost.

Bunn consistently has clever ideas, that much is clear from his various offerings. He has a knack for narration that doesn’t grate, a strong grasp on time-appropriate lingo and the like but oftentimes, it’s my opinion, that too much is introduced per issue. This issue is no different and the highs, gangsters, demon mobsters and a cool world, are high. But the lows are disappointingly low.

Demons, retro-gangsters, slang, and the like are on the mark. However, an entire cast of characters, stakes, plotlines and lore introduced (or re-introduced for familiar readers) here at breakneck pace makes the whole issue feel like it’s hurtling towards an ending that it doesn’t entirely nail.

Getting straight into the action, the issue, which I have not read the previous series of, drops some serious lore about our main character, Eddie, and his apparent immortal affliction (ability?). It’s a cool idea that I won’t spoil the catch of here, wrapped up in an expertly designed noir world that Hurtt and Crabtree bring to life in a simplistic, semi-monochromatic style but as ancient artifacts and the like are thrown into the mix, too, it feels like too much.

I’ll keep an eye on the series, and returning readers might find a lot to like here but I ultimately felt a little lost and overextended, awash in a cool world that I couldn’t anchor myself to. 

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