By Laramie Martinez
I’m a big fan of Ben Acker’s and Ben Blacker’s The Thrilling Adventure Hour so when I saw they were teaming up with Andrew Miller for a comic, I knew I was going to pick it up. I’ve only seen their humorous side, but I was excited to see what they would do with grittier subject matter in Death be Damned. Taking place in the 1870s in WY, this is a classic western revenge tale which, while disjointed at times, allows for some interesting takes on the western, the Frankenstein story, and supernatural dark fantasy. Check out my full review below.
This book shows some promise, there are intriguing characters and as I said in the introduction, the mix of genres is one that you won’t find anywhere else on the shelves. However, the structure of this first issue was more than a little jarring. The opening sequence is pretty commonplace, it’s the lone survivor of a bloodbath sets off for her revenge type of opening. We don’t get her name in this first issue and she is only defined by her want for revenge. The second character of importance is a doctor and necromancer hopeful, who is searching to bring his wife back from the underworld. The last character is the big bad of the arc, another necromancer who brings the dead back to life.
The problem with this issue is that the pacing of the jumps between the three narratives feel forced. I feel as though the writers didn’t put enough emphasis on the closing scenes of each narrative, so we’re left with abrupt jumps from story line to story line And I realize that since this is a premiere issue the stories shouldn’t feel cohesive yet, but the timing of two scenes in particular, the Interlude and the Epilogue, took away from the tension of the story instead of heightening it. I fell as those these two scenes should have been joined together in a longer Epilogue rather than trying to split them up.
The art is by Hannah Christenson who you probably know from Harrow County. This book aesthetically isn’t too much of a stretch from Harrow County and that’s a good thing. It plays to her strengths, warm yet ethereal and weird. The art is what you would expect from her, great storytelling through expressive characters and understated supernatural imagery.
If you’re a fan of the Weird Western genre this is definitely worth a pick up. In my opinion there are never enough weird westerns in the world so any new book is worth looking into, but this one especially shows promise.
Death be Damned #1
Writers: Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, Andrew Miller
Artist: Hannah Christenson
Publisher: BOOM! Studios