DEATH BE DAMNED #1
Written by Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, and Andrew Miller
Art by Hannah Christenson and Juan Useche
Published by BOOM! Studios
Release Date: February 8, 2017
A family murdered, a woman out for revenge, and a man who wants to bring back the dead. Death Be Damned starts out with a bang with this first issue!
I’ve been a fan of Acker and Blacker since the Thrilling Adventure Hour and their writing, along with Miller’s, does not disappoint. The western dialogue along with the monologue on Zuni cultural ideas and traditions for death and funerals makes me believe that these guys actually did some research, which I always am in favor for. The tragic tale of the widow is captivating and I’m really rooting for some bloody revenge for her. The twist at the end of the issue is surprising and makes me wonder what’s to come.
The art by Christenson is awesome. There’s a roughness to the art that goes with the atmosphere of the Wild West. All the people in the comic don’t look like supermodels. They have lines on their faces, they’re all a bit uglier than normal, and I think that makes sense, in the environment they’re living in. In fact, most things feel more grimy, especially the violence that happens in the issue. It’s not some Tarantino exaggeration or PG shooting with no blood, but a realistic amount in a gritty way that’s probably a dime a dozen in the West during those days. I appreciate that.
None of the art would be as good without its coloring, and Useche does a wonderful job at it. There’s something drab about the colors that fits perfectly with the feel of the comic. It’s these large swipes of solid colors that make a dulled world around the characters. It works so well for a western comic, I love the choice.
A scene I love is when the reader first meets the widow.
A body of a woman floats in a pond as a group of vagabonds roll out of a farm. For a moment, she lies there, as if a corpse.
She awakens. She moves towards the edges of her pond, she pulls herself out. With shaking legs and very little energy, she pushes herself to walk to her home.
Raided and ravaged, her home is in pieces. She falls, taking a moment to soak in the disarray. But she pulls herself together. She stands up.
Her eyes widen. A man in a pool of blood. The legs of a small child. The child’s missing one of her shoes.
The widow digs graves. Despite her fatigue and pain, she drags her family’s bodies into their own separate holes, marking each with a cross.
“Rest both your souls. I love you, James, Martha. That’s why I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do.”
It’s a gripping scene.
If you love a good western tale with some supernatural elements, I recommend Death Be Damned.
The Verdict: 9.0/10