Like the gangster films of the noir genre, Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt’s The Damned is fast paced and a thrill to read – only in this world, demons have infiltrated the local gangs and are enjoying the benefits. Eddie, a human who has sold his soul – making it difficult to die – is approached by an old friend, Pauly Bones, who has stolen a mystery and demonic key to trade for some souls of his own. Now, the two are being hassled by demon gang lords, a mysterious killer, and demons that put other demons to shame.
As with any film noir, our heroes are not truly heroic, but are more anti-heroes. For Eddie to continue to live, someone has to die. There’s also a melancholic tone that issue three begins to delve into. Pauly Bones is misguided in his attempt to do something for someone he truly loves, while Eddie seems to have lost someone he cares about – someone that waits in his memories to haunt him. With most noir, instead of changing, our anti-heroes lose themselves to their hang ups. How Bunn decides to approach some of these tropes will be interesting. With his background of playing with genres, my guess is not everything will follow the guidelines.
Brian Hurtt’s artwork is really enjoyable. He doesn’t embrace the darkness of the demons, but allows the demons to live in a more real, albeit, slightly exaggerated world that gives it an almost cartoonish feel. This feel keeps it fun as opposed to horrific. Bill Crabtree’s colors are mostly monochromatic, giving the book that classic feel, though the blood is a bright red when it flows.
I highly recommend most of Cullen Bunn’s books, and this is another one that if you’re not reading, you should start.