Review – Death Be Damned TP (BOOM! Studios)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writers: Ben Acker & Ben Blacker, Andrew Miller
Artist: Hannah Christenson
Release Date: 8th February 2017

“Died a lot today, time to get killing.”

These are the lines of the Miranda Coler, the protagonist of BOOM! Studios’ Death be Damned, and damn cool lines they are.

The plot is taken from pretty much any archetypal Western you’ve seen over the years, from A Few Dollars More to Unforgiven. The family of an old western outlaw is murdered by a posse of killers, but one is left alive and seeks vengeance for the crimes committed against them. What provides a breath of fresh air in this countlessly retold story is that it is the wife who’s out for blood not the husband. And she’s filled with such determination that not even death itself can keep her from her mission.

It’s a cool spin on a familiar story, like a mixture of True Grit and Pale Rider but with a female lead as bad-ass as any Wayne or Eastwood. While it’s a real shame that it has to be noted that the lead is a female nowadays, and not taken as normally as it should be, it’s genuinely cool to see a regular woman being bad-ass. She doesn’t dress in tight clothes, doesn’t give off distinctly feminine or masculine stereotypical qualities, she’s just a hard-nosed gunslinger.

The art is a unique, almost impressionistic style that blends especially well with the nature of the story, with instant transitions back and forth between this world and the one underneath. While tonally it’s a dark tale, the art makes it seem lighter and more readable, and each character – whether main or in the background – has a distinctly human look about them. It’s something which is always great to see as it feels like the story is set in a genuine world and not the repeated background of a Road Runner cartoon you get sometimes.

The violence is downright brutal at times but because of the style of the drawing it has a strange muted affect, like the volume was turned down and it’s just there to forward the story.

I must say I enjoyed this tale quite a lot, but it wasn’t perfect. It felt like there was a lot here to be explored but it became a little squeezed in and rushed near the end, almost like the writers were expecting another few chapters before the last to flesh out the adventure. So, while it was a hell of a journey to get to the climax it still felt like more was going to happen. It’s obviously the intention that this series is going to continue, something I’m definitely looking forward to, but, I don’t know, the last few panels just seemed like the end of the Sopranos. Cut off mid-sentence.

Well worth it for the journey though, and definitely one for classic fans of Westerns with a gun-slinging pissed off hero, with the added bonus of paganistic spells and zombie cowboys.

Rating: 3.5/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy

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