I think I’ve reached my end with Sundowners, and it’s possible I might regret that choice should this issue’s upswing continue. As things stand right now though, Sundowners seems pretty satisfied as a ho-hum comic with characters that don’t particularly resonate with me in any manner despite the intrigue built up by their mental disorders, and the impact that has on their vigilantism. With a last page that feels tasteless in its treatment of depression, I’m confident that whatever’s in store for the Sundowners isn’t something I’ll care to read about. Crowlita starts this issue tracking down Meghan, a woman she believes was part of a cult ritual. This trek ends when Crowlita ends up in front of a church, only to be transported to a hellish landscape where she’s attacked by what’s either demonic tadpoles or, more disturbingly, sentient giant sperm. It’s an intense two pages that Jim Terry pulls off really nicely, Sean Dove’s colors lending the hell dimension a great tone.
It sucks then that we don’t return to Crowlita until much later this issue. Instead, what we get is a check-in with each of the Sundowners as they return home, and in the case of Karl, wake up in what others hope will be their home. Of all these individual threads, I was most captivated by Joe’s who breaks into the home of his ex-wife under the delusion that he can provide her protection. It was hard not to feel sympathy for him when he takes down his monotone persona, and begs to stay for the night, things only getting worse for him when his ex’s new partner shows up, an actual cop who reminds Joe just how foolish his vigilante antics are.
Then there’s a whole thing about Karl and the cult we’ve seen glimpses of since the first issue that still isn’t grounded at all. It’s just getting increasingly frustrating not knowing anything about the situation in a way that doesn’t build any mystery, but only detracts from any possible relatibility to the characters.
The upswing for this comic comes in its second half when Andrea, the woman who believes she gains strength by committing sins, has someone from her past show up at her home. That person, creepy guy Brandon knocks her out, and, when she wakes up tied to her bed, delivers some chilling dialogue about her sins that had me glad that at last the comic had some concrete antagonist. It only gets more interesting once Joe arrives, and the two have it out in the hall, the fight ending in an unexpected fashion that tempts me to come back next issue.
When I made it to the last page though, I just lost all interest. It really bothered me how Crowlita’s mental problems were played up for a cliffhanger that was in no way foreseeable, and also I just thought the choice to reuse the narration that appeared earlier on in the issue a tad too on-the-nose as if reminding us that we had been fooled earlier on. Maybe ditching Sundowners will be the end of me, but I hope whoever picks it up here next enjoys it in my stead.
Writer: Tim Seeley Artist: Jim Terry Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 10/29/14 Format: Print/Digital