Cullen Bunn is at it again, this time with Brian Hurtt (illustrator) and Bill Crabtree (colorist). Together, they take us back to the days when mobsters owned high-stakes gambling clubs and wore tailored suits, the days of tommy guns and demon keys. Yes, that’s right – demon keys. You see, this universe is populated by demons who have taken rank in the mobster world. This isn’t Sicilian blood that runs through family veins, but demon blood.
The owner of one of the local nightclubs, in fact, has an ability that when he’s about ready to die, a human sacrifice will keep him ticking. This is our hero, Eddie. He’s smart, though one might question that after Eddie takes in his friend, Pauly Bones, in the first issue. Pauly is a gambler that’s won a particular item that no human is ever supposed to lay eyes on. Now, one of the biggest demon families is doing everything they can to get it back.
What we get in this second issue is some fun world building, which is one of Bunn’s greatest strengths as a writer. The other skills he excels at are dialogue, character building, and pacing. Every talent is on full display here. Every panel and every page has a story to tell, and Bunn doesn’t waste a moment of it.
He’s chosen to work with a stellar artistic team, as well. Hurtt and Crabtree bring the visual goods and make you feel like you’re watching Guillermo del Toro’s take on Hellboy. It’s gritty and dark, but also vibrant and enchanting.
This book is a joy especially if you love characters that feel like they could be right out of a Raymond Chandler novel or from the lens of one of the great films based on his character, Phillip Marlowe, like Murder, My Sweet. I’d say roll the dice with The Damned. There’s no way you won’t get lucky.