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.

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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.

Kaijumax: Season Three #6 (February 2018)

Kaijumax: Season Three #6

I’m not sure Cannon would want the compliment, but Kaijumax: Season Three just duplicated the feel of a problematic third television season perfectly. After stumbling through the first half of Season Three, Cannon rallied. That rallying has led to this issue, which is a great comic.

It’s an action issue. There’s a prison riot. The warden is out of town. The prisoners are trying to settle scores–including Electrogor, who’s far from the lead, but clearly needs to be in the comic–and all the plot threads get completed. Including some leftover from Season One. It’s an awesome, awesome finish. And one where Cannon could take however long he wants before Season Four, frankly.

Some great art. Cannon does big action real well–he also gets to play with his visual pacing, as they related to narrative reveals. Everything going so fast–monsters to guards to monsters to interlude to monsters to guards–he’s got rhythm. The issue flows.

I can’t imagine it’s going to seem such a victory in trade as it does in this one issue, where Cannon doesn’t exactly save Kaijumax (clearly it wasn’t in any real danger), but he does resurrect it.

Of course, Season One and Season Two didn’t have cliffhangers anything like this one so hopefully he starts next series as strong as he finished this one.

CREDITS

Consequences; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editors, Charlie Chu 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.

Kaijumax: Season Three 5 (November 2017)

Kaijumax: Season Three #5

If it were any other comic right now, an issue like this one would seem like a major course correction. Cannon talks through most of Kaijumax’s outstanding issues–with talking heads scenes–but really well. He manages to make the prison doctor in love with Zonn work. He’s never been able to do that one. But now there’s crisis and it’s working. Maybe because it’s crisis the reader cares about.

And there’s resolution to the giant goat arc. It’s got some surprises in it, little ones, but also just great comic book pacing.

Some of the problem with Season Three has been Cannon’s fixation on the prison as a whole and that whole is where the problems come in. Is Kaijumax on Antarctica? Where else is big enough. It’s got to be crazy big.

Anyway. It’s a very solid issue. It’s just not enough to convince me Cannon’s going to have a good way to wrap it up next issue.

CREDITS

The Standoff; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; 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.

Kaijumax: Season Three 4 (October 2017)

Kaijumax: Season Three #4

If Season Three had gotten off to a good start, Cannon might have some leeway for this issue. He’s ambitious and absurdly overindulgent; it’s the perfect example of creative lane changing. The issue has a framing device. The Kaijumax Musical Theater group is putting on a shoe. Their performance cuts to various other activities going on, which all happen to have something to do with a subplot. No one involved in subplots is watching the show. They don’t like musicals, I guess.

Cannon’s not a lyricist. He’s gimmicky. Kaijumax is already pushing it with the gimmicky dialect for the prisoners. The more he expands the world, the less likely his stuff makes sense.

The rest of the comic’s pretty darn good. The subplots aren’t exactly interesting, but they’ve got a pulse. And Cannon executes them all well. There’s an awesome Kaijumax moment with the doctor, where Cannon’s art and writing perfectly intersect; it’s been a while since he’s had one of those moments. Kaijumax used to be full of them.

The return of old characters either hint at a different last two for this series or maybe the Season Four plot. Either way, it’s too late to even be too little. Even when the comic’s good, it’s still lost.

CREDITS

A Special Effects Fantasy Series; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editors, Charlie Chu and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Three 3 (September 2017)

Kaijumax: Season Three #3

Electrogor returns to Kaijumax–figuratively and literally–but as a supporting player. The goat monster and the human doctor split this issue; his story is a tad more amusing than hers. There are hints of intriguing revelations for him, while she’s just doing more of the same with her kaiju lover. Cannon doesn’t recapture the magic–this issue reads like it should’ve been number one, not three–but he seems like he’s back on the right track towards it. Hopefully Electrogor’s season-long odyssey in Season Two wasn’t all just filler.

CREDITS

Rock Solid Rep; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editor, Charlie Chu and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

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