Review: Sundowners #1

Sundowners is one of three new original comics I read this week, and while it’s not the best of the bunch, it definitely did enough to make me want to return for its second issue. Written by Hack/Slash creator Tim Seeley, Sundowners features a group of mentally disturbed superhero wannabes and the equally disturbed disbarred psychologist, David ‘Shreds’ Shrejic, who facilitates their Sundowners (Shreds’ term for costumed vigilantes) support group. Other than some brief intros for each vigilante, not much else occurs. Yet, Seeley sets up several plot lines that suggest that this comic may turn out to be the supernatural psychological superhero thriller I didn’t know I wanted. This issue opens on a page featuring the female vigilante Pigeon on what the issue’s narrator tells us is her final night on patrol. Although we don’t see her again for the rest of the issue, her faith seems tied to those of the Sundowners with both the final page and a cleansing ritual foreshadowing some supernatural elements later in the series.

It’s difficult to determine what will ultimately be the mission of the Sundowners team, but we’re provided enough about each of their backstories to indicate that Seeley has some big ideas in store if the series is given the chance at an extended run. From the mannequin-looking Concerned Citizen who believes that Oprah and the Reptiloids are in cahoots to the kleptomaniac Arcanika to go-go dancer Crowlita, Seeley has managed to put together a crew that feels distinct from other team books.

26118Currently, Sundowners’ main issue is that the story sometimes feels a little incoherent, mostly due to not being able to determine what events are actually occurring, and what are just shared delusions among the group. The issue also spends a few too many pages with Shreds as he shares his ‘discovery’ of a new psychological disorder, the titular Sundowners syndrome, with his wary sister-in-law. Easily the least interesting of the cast, I hope Seeley doesn’t devote as much time to him in future issues if he remains solely an unlikable and, even worse, unfunny asshole.

While the art in this issue isn’t remarkable, Jim Terry pulls off some great costume designs with Concerned Citizen’s a personal favorite as its equal parts disturbing and cheesy. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the characters’ facial expression since each of the main cast seems to share the same grimace, a similarity that’s so noticeable because they occur one page after another. Part of the art’s problem rest on Seeley’s script, which has the group sitting around a dark room for the bulk of the issue. The last page indicates that things may be mostly action-oriented next time around, so here’s hoping Terry gets a chance to do something more along the lines of the book’s latter half.

For a second there, I was getting concerned that Dark Horse’s most recent original properties were all turning out to be duds. Thankfully, Sundowners shows that the publisher and its creators still have some interesting ideas at work. If the team’s mission clears up next issue and Shreds meets a timely end via strangulation, this could turn out to be a winner for them.

Score: 3/5

Writer: Tim Seeley Artist: Jim Terry Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 8/27/14 Format: Print/Digital