Advance Review – The Terrible Elizabeth Dumn against the Devils in Suits (one-shot) (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Script and Art: Arabson (adapted by James Robinson)
Colours: Anderson Cabral
Release Date: 14th November 2018

The story has been told for centuries. The down-on-their-luck, poverty-stricken soul makes their way to a crossroads late at night to make a deal with the devil. What use is a soul to them? What use is a child who doesn’t exist yet? So they make the deal and move on, forgetting – or not even caring – that one day the devil will come to take what’s due.

This tale picks up on one of those fateful nights when, twenty years after meeting a goat in a field, a Mr Dumn finds a mysterious visitor at his door.  And, while he’s never seen him before, he recognizes him instantly. The man has come for his first born as promised, ready to take him back to hell as payment.  But Mr Dumn has another deal in mind – namely, to replace the son with his deadbeat sixteen year old daughter, the girl they say not even the devil could tame. But someone saw this little deal coming and warms the daughter, Elizabeth, setting her on a cross country run from hell itself.

I absolutely loved this comic. It really is Image Comics at its best, with a unique story told in a cinematic fashion, with detailed art slightly distorted to match the tone of the story and a creator who isn’t afraid of taking the time with each page to really let you soak it  all in.

One particular fight scene stands out for me as a perfect example of that.  All too often in comics we see the hero monologuing with the villain in a fight that ends up barely lasting two pages, whereas he we are treated to a down and dirty brawl that goes on for ages and only gets more brutal with each panel.

Arabson’s story feels like a modern day play with a mix of archetypal characters you’d recognise, but each has their own little spins and created mythology to make it more interesting. The devil himself, while shown to be a creepy old man at first, truly ups the Hannibal Lecter-esque levels of evil in a single page discussion of the evil of glass.

Another truly unique part of this one-shot is the different ways Abarbson uses sound. Names play an important part in the story, and whether it’s the name of the son or the refusal to flat-out name the villain, we instantly understand the weight and meaning behind them. Music is not only used as the focus for one of the characters but also as a way of transitioning between scenes or focusing on important lines or actions.

Paradoxically, some of the scenes that stuck out the most for me had no dialogue at all, such as the subtle mirroring of the beginning and the ending. All this made me feel like I was watching a film rather than reading a book, giving off Scott Pilgrim vibes with Elizabeth along with some of the same undertones of satanic and angelic law that the third season of Fargo deals with.

I’d thoroughly recommend this book.  The more you look at it the more you get out of it, and it’s an utterly captivating experience watching the story move quickly from a gory bag of giggles and nutty characters to something far more dark and meaningful.

Rating: 4.5/5.

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

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