The Showdown is essentially Death Race 2000 in hell. Our story goes through the different groups of the damned looking to be released from Hell and raise said hell back on the earth. The book as a whole has a rockabilly/punk vibe to it as it mixes with 40s and 50s classic Americana muscle cars. I wish that there was more to say about this first volume, but that’s really it. The entire story is spent going through and introducing the different groups and establishing relationships/grudges. The characters are pretty one-dimensional because we’re just getting a quick introduction to them and that’s it.
There is one saving grace that makes The Showdown stand out and it’s the artwork. It’ looks photo referenced for the most part, but it’s fits the world and theme quite well. It gives the story it’s personality and keeps the dialogue from sounding cheesy.
What’s truly great is the one-pages that the different groups get to introduce their group. My personal favorite being the Dead Belles, an all-female race team of dead women that look like classic pin-up models.
Keeping with the art, it’s all gritty and a little reminiscent of Eric Powell’s work on The Goon. Tony Guaraldi-Brown understands how to make a dark page bright and yet keep with the dark theme. What also stands out is the characters. Not just their designs, but the way Guaraldi-Brown takes something like a rockabilly dude and transforms him into a Frankenstein as well. Each group has their own theme of monster and gore and it’s pretty damn great.
I wish there was more going on in this first volume. The entire thing is set up, but I have to say I liked the art and the idea behind it. Hopefully the second volume, when it’s released, will bring more to the world than just a bunch of cool names and clever designs. In the meantime, if this sounds like your cup of tea check it out.
The Showdown Vol. 1 Writer: Russ Lippitt Artist: Tony Guaraldi-Brown Publisher: Broken Icon Comics Format: TPB; Print