I’m tempted to mention Cooper’s one page strip first because it’s a page and I don’t really have anything to say about it. Oops, there I went and did.
Brubaker and Gaudiano finish up Here and Now. It’s got a bit of a surprise ending, which makes perfect sense, but for whatever reason (probably a combination of Gaudiano’s realistic illustrating and Brubaker’s occasional summary storytelling), it works perfectly. The story really deserves to be collected (though the private detective angle detracts in some ways).
Rennie and Langridge’s Kabuki Kid features a story about Japanese products and their dismissal of the human worker. I’ve read three of these stories and I can’t tell if they’re really supposed to be socialist propaganda or if it’s another joke.
Campbell’s Doreen Grey has a strange installment. There’s some great stuff, but it feels incomplete. I can’t believe Campbell can tie it up next issue.
The Eyeball Kid, The Picture of Doreen Gray, Part Five; story by Eddie Campbell; art by Eddie Campbell and Hayley Campbell. Kabuki Kid, Part Three, Assembly Line Apocalypse!; story by Gordon Rennie; art by Roger Langridge; edited by Greg Vest. Nude; story and art by Dave Cooper. Here and Now, Part Three; story by Ed Brubaker; art by Stefano Gaudiano; lettering by Sean Konot. Edited by Bob Schreck and Scott Allie.
I wonder what Rennie’s Kabuki Kid scripts look like. This installment has a setup, introduces some villains, then it just goes wild. Langridge has the Kabuki Kid and his sidekick fighting an army of adversaries (though it does get weeded through fast). It’s funny and fast, even better than the first installment.
Schutz and Pander have three pages of filler set at a jazz club. Pander’s art’s good, but the entry’s pointless. Unless maybe it was a real place.
Then Brubaker and Gaudiano continue their dysfunctional private investigator in Here and Now. It’s an exceptionally depressing piece. I also wonder if it wouldn’t have been even more affecting to separate the two stories (the P.I. part and the dysfunctional family).
As for Campbell and Doreen Grey? This installment is even better, with Campbell sort of turning everything on its head. I love how he has characters discuss unlikely plot contrivances.
Kabuki Kid, Part Two, For a Few Noodles More!; story by Gordon Rennie; art by Roger Langridge; edited by Greg Vest. Tuesday Night at the Jazz Club; story by Diana Schutz; art by Arnold Pander; lettering by Sean Konot. Here and Now, Part Two; story by Ed Brubaker; art by Stefano Gaudiano; lettering by Konot. The Eyeball Kid, The Picture of Doreen Gray, Part Four; story and art by Eddie Campbell. Edited by Bob Schreck and Scott Allie.
Bunn brings Damned to a predictable, yet still unpredictable conclusion. The main story about the mob war ends predictably… but there’s a lot unexpected elements here. One’s a new story thread introduced, another’s a conclusion for a character—both have to do with how little Bunn has actually revealed about his protagonist.
Unfortunately, the ending is a little unfinished. Neither reveal is as effective as it could be. One needs more time, one needs less.
Otherwise, it’s a fantastic issue. Bunn plots it with a nice mix of investigation, action and wrap-up so Hurtt gets to draw a variety of styles. There’s some great demon mobster stuff (they never go crazy with the demon fighting though, which surprised me), but also a fine talking heads conclusion.
One of the best things about The Damned is how Bunn just presents the ground situation, never explains it.
It’s an excellent series.
Writers, Brian Hurtt and Cullen Bunn; artist and letterer, Hurtt; editor, Randal C. Jarrell; publisher, Oni Press.