"The Cursed and the Damned #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by N.A.S. Studios
Story by David Sandoval
Written by Luis M. Cruz
Illustrated by Francesco Iaquinta
2014, 24 Pages
One of the unique things about the werewolf mythos is that it can be seen as a curse. An innocent person is attacked by a savage beast and then once a month they're transformed into the same type of creature as a reminder of the horrific event they went through. I'm sure something similar can be said for vampires, but they always seem to be having a much better time with their newfound abilities than lycanthropes. To that end, indie publisher N.A.S. Studios has put together The Cursed and the Damned, a new comic that starts out with a group of werewolves looking to cure their condition...only to create the undead as a result. That's right, folks. It's werewolves vs. zombies.
The Cursed and the Damned is a lot more complex than that though. It starts out with a meeting of werewolves discussing the pros and cons of a possible cure. The group is torn between those born as lycanthropes who have embraced it and those bitten and turned into one who see this as a curse. Theoretically, they're both in the same position as neither of them have volunteered to transform at the sight of a full moon. I guess if you grew up as a werewolf, it's a bit different. You don't have anything else to compare it to. Added into the mix is a handful of shifters who can change into other animals aside from wolves. They seem to be upset about this too.
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A trio of scientists think that they've figured out how to stop the transformation once and for all. The only catch is that it hasn't been tested yet. They find a human volunteer who will be injected with the serum and then bitten. The girl doesn't become a werewolf, but instead dies and returns as a member of the undead. So basically, a group of lycanthrope scientists have caused the zombie apocalypse.
The setup for The Cursed and the Damned is interesting. For once you get a definitive cause for the dead walking the earth, which is usually a question that's left unanswered. Tying it into the werewolves is a nice touch that makes it personal to this group of characters. In attempting to cure themselves of one monster, they've created another.
Francesco Iaquinta has a great sense of art direction throughout this issue. The panels aren't laid out in a traditional rectangular fashion. Instead, they cut through the page at different angles. It's a nice effect. The werewolves are drawn very well. Even in their human forms they have an animalistic look. Some of the fashions have a '90s era feel, but it doesn't distract much from the story.
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The transformed werewolves are massive and ferocious. They dominate the page when they appear. They look ready to rip out your throat even if they just showed up to talk. If this is what these monsters look like, I can't wait to see what Iaquinta does with the zombies.
There's a great origin story put in place in this first issue of The Cursed and the Damned. I like the idea that werewolves are directly responsible for the rise of the undead. It puts a nice twist on the genre instead of your average humans struggling to survive. The addition of the shifters is a little odd and I'm not sure how that's going to work with the rest of the story. It does detract a little from the lycanthropes. Hopefully that'll shake out in the rest of the story.
The Cursed and the Damned is not fully finished yet. The comic is completely written and illustrated but needs to be colored and lettered. The publisher has turned to Kickstarter to help complete the project, pay the creative team, and get started on the second issue. Hopefully they reach their goal as I want to see what happens next.
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