Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Tony Parker
Release Date: 2nd September, 2015
After introducing its strong premise in the first issue, the second installment of Paul Cornell and Tony Parker’s This Damned Band sees our intrepid rock gods facing the comedown from their mushroom-fueled meeting the devil himself. A before, Cornell’s knack for offbeat humour really comes to the fore here, and his writing is definitely channeling the dry British with of Spinal Tap throughout the course of this issue. Definitely no bad thing, in my opinion.
Unfortunately, the documentary format continues to provide a noticeable barrier to the character development of the band members themselves, giving the series so far something of a detached quality that prevents us from developing any real investment in what’s going on. It’s funny, even downright hilarious in places, but the characters all feel fairly undeveloped and one-dimensional at this point in the story.
One thing that definitely isn’t underdeveloped however is the visual side of the book, with Parker’s artwork working perfectly alongside the inspired humour of Cornell’s writing. Each of the band members is distinctive in their own right, and each fully embodies the glorious campness of true rock excess; from Kev, very much a homage to Tap’s Derek Smalls to Alex, who basically looks like Alan Partridge with a pencil mustache, each of them is visually striking, something which definitely adds to the distinctive tone of the series.
Parker also has some fun near the start of the book as he recaps the band member’s different versions of the satanic mushroom trip, with Kev’s hilarious misunderstanding all but guaranteed to raise a chuckle. He also adds a truly sinister visual twist in the closing pages, breaking away sharply from the humour and excess of the preceding pages and leaving the issue on an intriguing, eyebrow-raising note.
While the premise is absolute fried gold, the execution thus far has been a little bit off, meaning that while This Damned Band is an undeniably enjoyable read, it hasn’t quite lived up to its potential just yet. However, with a little tweaking over the final two issues, I have no doubt that this wonderfully offbeat rockumentary-with-a-twist can catapult itself into ‘must read’ status, and – as Cat mentioned in her review of the first issue – finally turn this bad boy all the way up to eleven.
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