Oni Press 2017
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Brian Hurtt
Coloured by Bill Crabtree
Lettered by Crank!
Thanks to recent dirty dealings, Eddie finds himself in charge of the Gehenna Room, a posh club with on hard and fast rule: No Demons Allowed! But he still gets unwanted visitors, like his old chum Pauly Bones, a gambler who has come into some winnings that the demons are very interested in.
This really is one of my all time favourite properties. I mean Eddie isn’t very bright but he’s got street smarts and that’s enough really. He’s got the proverbial luck of the Irish about him that really makes him as endearing a character to us as he is. Cullen has created one of those rare characters who is inherently flawed, embraces those flaws and yet manages to capture our hearts, minds, imagination and loyalty.
So this issue opens up with a flashback to exactly what happened with Pauly Bones to bring him to Eddie’s club and why Demons are literally coming out of the woodwork to get what he has. Which by the way is something Eddie doesn’t even know about yet. I like it because while it doesn’t reveal what it is that Pauly got we do see that it’s something he never should have had access to. So i’d go with pure dumb luck put this in his possession and it’ll be pure dumb luck to get him out of this alive.
For such a big world the community here is pretty gosh darn small. As Big Al has Eddie brought out to him while conducting a transaction we see just what these folks are capable of. It’s a beautiful demonstration of why Eddie thinks and acts the way he does. It’s really some of Cullen’s finest writing and it’s so overtly subtle, yes a delightful contradiction in terms but it is hte only phrase that serves to do it justice.
Everything that is great about this series is in this issue as we see how it is being written. There’s a way to get the reader lost in a world that doesn’t exist and make it not only believable and exciting but also a place we want to go to. The world they’ve managed to bring to life here is one filled with death, desire and all kinds of evil where people sell their souls to gain power and wealth and yet despite that or because of that we still want more.
I’m a huge fan of Brian’s work on the interiors here. He and Bill bring this to life in a way that’s just incredibly stylised. I mean it almost has a this all-ages feel to it that is also able to show off the darker underbelly they are trying to convey. The way page layouts are utilised through angles and perspective make the flow of the story work beautifully.
So Eddie has to figure out what Pauly has and what it means while keeping him alive. There’s a lot at stake here and it seems that there’s very little time to get in the know. The pacing, story structure and story development are the stuff legends are made of it’s just that good. You won’t be disappointed that’s for sure!