ADVANCED REVIEW: The Damned, Vol 1 – Three Days Dead

Taking a number of different genres, the creators behind this Oni Press book  have mashed, merged and shaved off the edges in an effort to give us something new, yet in fact they deliver something that whilst carrying a certain level of charm, still manages to feel over familiar.

Eddie is the oft killed, brought back from the dead, sometime stollie for Big Al who is  a demon currently in competition for the criminal underworld with Bruno Roarke.  Still Al and Bruno almost have an arrangement that would mean an end to hostilities.  Unfortunately, the envoy, a demi called Lazlo, has gone missing.  To get his life back, Eddie has to turn gumshoe and locate Lazlo before the deal goes south.

Cullen Bunn is no stranger to prohibition times, gangsters, crime bosses and their molls from his work on The Shadow, of which I quite enjoyed.  Here it’s as if Bunn has looked at his own work, thrown in a little Hellboy, maybe a little Constantine and sprinkle with a little 20’s art deco for a tale that is as convoluted as it is crowded.  Eddie’s life seems to be one of constant threats, which with his powers of recuperations shouldn’t really  pose him any real problems.  Still, he manages to annoy those who seem important to him as equally as those who despise him.  Bunn writes in an effective manner, his characters falling into cliché which potentially could spoil this book for some, although sometimes you don’t have to break the mould to tell a good story.  Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.  Either way, the writing has a 20’s gangster feel to it, which gives the book a real sense of the vibe that Bunn appears to have been aiming for.

The feeling of the 20’s is further established through the art of Brian Hurtt, with a Matt Wagner or even  Darwyn Cooke styling.  The simple look works well enough, with pencil lines fading into the colors of Bill Crabtree, giving the book an atmospheric feeling from page one onwards.  The pages are quite panel laden and dialogue heavy in places, meaning that you do get a lot of reading from the book.  The story itself does hold a couple of surprises, with the dream communion being the stand out contrast in the book.

If you are a fan of gangster books, the occult or demons there may well be enough of the various tropes on show to keep you entertained. Between them, Bunn, Hurtt and Crabtree have given us a book that is the tip of the iceberg in this particular world, with further extensions hinted at as there are a number loose ends and dark fates that await in the shadows, which may yet still have an impact on Eddie and challenge his Lazarus-like powers, even if not all wounds leave scars.

Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art – 3 Stars
Colors -3.5 Stars

(W) Cullen Bunn  (A/CA) Brian Hurtt  (C) Bill Crabtree
ISBN: 978-1-62010-385-2
In Stores: 3/8/17
Age Rating: Mature  Genre: Crime, Fantasy
Price: $9.99  Page Count: 152


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