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Damn Them All Main

"Damn Them All #1" Comic Review

Written by Joel Harley

Published by BOOM! Studios

article-cover

Written by Si Spurrier 
Illustrated by Charlie Adlard
Coloured by Sofie Dodgson
Lettered by Jim Campbell
2021, 30 pages
Comic released on 26th October 2022

Review:

A hard-drinking, foul-mouthed magician with a shady past navigates cockney gangster-infested pubs and demonic possession in this London-set horror series. But where you might be expecting John Constantine, creative team Si Spurrier, Charlie Aldlard, Sofie Dodgson and Jim Campbell have a black magic antihero of their own in Ellie Hawthorne, or 'Bloody El.'

Following the death of Ellie's uncle,72 (!) infernal demons are suddenly and mysteriously freed from their realm. It's up to Ellie and a visiting New Orleans cop to send them back again, using a combination of black magic and Ellie's signature claw hammer. 

Click images to enlarge.

Splicing supernatural horror with cockney crime thriller, Damn Them All is an atmospheric foray into a world of ancient occultist rituals, macho gangster posturing, and explosive bursts of gore and violence. While the world Spurrier paints is a familiar one – drawn from the likes of the Krays, The Long Good Friday and Gangster No.1 – it feels rich and lived-in, thanks in no small part to the excellent work of artist Charlie Adlard.

Adlard's world building has always been impressive, especially when it comes to the post-apocalyptic encampents, deserted cities and zombie-ravaged bases of The Walking Dead. Where the dialogue would tend to overexplain and drag every little thing down into the doldrums, Adlard's art was an exercise in quietly getting the job done, building the characters and the world, while writer Robert Kirkman filled the panels with speech bubbles and exposition (not a fan, in case you hadn't guessed). In Damn Them All, Adlard gets to work on something a little more contemporary. His panels are filled with detail and intricate background work – one sequence, set on the London underground is particularly impressive - his characters distinct and each dressed to the nines. No-one does characters wearing clothes like Charlie Adlard.

Click images to enlarge.

The colours, by Sofie Dodgson, drench Adlard's artwork in atmosphere, from the grey skies over a funeral graveyard, to the deep black shadows of London's back streets. The book is gorgeously lit (if a tad gloomy) and, when its demons arrive, there are some exciting visual effects going on. Jim Campbell's lettering gives the dialogue and Hawthorne's narration considerable accent – when combined with the muted colours, those words leap off the page.

Damn Them All #1 is an exciting debut issue, showcasing lively characters and a deep and ambitious mythology. As it closes out, the readers are left on a promising hook, and a setup that is rife for plenty more grisly demon-slaying action. Who needs John Constantine anyway?

Grades:

Story: Fourstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Cover
Buy from Amazon UK.
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer - UK
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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