The Damned #1 (Oni Press)

This new crime noir thriller from St. Louisans Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt brings new meaning to the term "criminal underground."

  Oni Press; 40 pgs.B&W; $3.50

(W: Cullen Bunn, A: Brian Hurtt)

The cover to The Damned #1. Click for a larger image.Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Brian Hurtt seem to have taken the term "underworld" literally – their new comic from Oni, The Damned, is a mash-up of the Chicagoland gangster underworld of the 20s and an even darker underworld of demons, devils, and zombies.

Our hero Eddie is a walking corpse and a detective, trying to solve a mystery at the behest of crime boss "Big Al" Alighieri (as in Dante Alighieri), a cigar-puffing demon. To do that, Eddie will have to deal with thugs of the mortal and Stygian variety, along with a certain wisecracking moll who's no longer interested in him, thankyouverymuch.

Click this thumnail for a larger viewThe series' first issue is a fat forty-pager that will leave readers hungry for more info: who's working to keep the demon crime families at odds, and why? How is it that Eddie has the ability to rise from the dead again and again, and what sort of hold does Big Al have over him? The ending is a gory cliffhanger, but one thing is certain – in this one, you can't keep a dead man down.

Queen and Country's Brian Hurtt is a truly versatile artist of the Eisner school; there's a real expressiveness and a subtle humor to the characters in The Damned. Bunn's Eddie is a smart-aleck cigarette-smoking detective who, what with his paranormal surroundings, is sure to draw comparisons to Hellblazer. Their team-up on this dark, bloody mystery is sure to prove memorable. (www.thedamnedcomic.com/)

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