21st Oct2020

‘DC: The Doomed and The Damned #1’ Review (DC Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Various | Art by Various | Published by DC Comics

When it comes to over-sized special edition comics, DC seemingly can’t wait to whip up a steady stream of one after another. That’s not a complaint, mind you, just an observation. These 80 Page Giants must be good-sellers for DC, and although nearly 10 dollars a go, they are good value for the reader. You get to see a whole load of creators jamming together on more characters than you can shake a stick at, and the odds are that you will enjoy the majority of the stories, if not all. DC do enjoy their themed specials as well, and I must admit to being a sucker for things like Halloween and Christmas specials down the years, and I’m no different now. This Special gives us 10 short and hopefully sweet peeks into the more mysterious corners of the DC Universe, and it looks like it’s my job to be your guide. The carriage awaits!

Straight away we dive into odd team up territory with ‘Grief’s Quiet Name’, by John Arcudi and Mike Perkins, featuring two now mostly underused characters in Madame Xanadu and Man-Bat. The story is slight, combining ghosts with some sci-fi, but nice enough and Mike Perkins art is the star of this show. Next up is Batman (I think it’s illegal to have a DC anthology book without him) in ‘Urban Legends’, by Saladin Ahmed and Leonardo Manco. The art is again the star of the show here, in a story that felt a little ‘off’ for Batman. Story three gives us another eccentric team up, with Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern and The Demon, Etrigan. I’m not a big fan of Riley Rossmo’s very cartoonish art, though Kenny Porter’s script for ‘The Shadow over Coast City’ saves it. Again it combines a bit of horror and a bit of sci-fi, I’m seeing a theme here.

The fourth story features a promising girl power team up with ‘Inner Demons’, featuring Wonder Woman and Raven, by Amanda Deibert and artists Daniel Sampere. This steers away from the superheroics and more into proper horror, as Diana discovers the Church of Blood, and the possessed girl inside has been taken over by a cousin of Trigon, Raven’s demon father. Diana risks being possessed herself, to free the innocent girl. Is she stronger willed than a demon? Probably the strongest story so far, with both script and art very strong. The half way point is ‘7 Days’, from Marv Wolfman and Tom Mandrake, featuring the fantastic pairing of Solomon Grundy and Ra’s Al Ghul. Not a team up, as Ra’s and daughter Talia want the secret of Grundy’s eternal life, and Wolfman cleverly links the story in with the lines from the nursery rhyme. Loved both story and art on this, great stuff.

Story six serves us up Superman himself and Swamp Thing in ‘From Humble Roots’, by Amedo Turturro and Max Fiumara. I liked this a lot more than I first thought I would, with a short but sweet look at these two helping end a new scheme by Clayface, albeit not the normal thing you see. A fresh take by Turturro. Story seven sees Alyssa Wong and Domo Stanton take on Orphan (former Batgirl Cassandra Cain) and Orca in ‘The Hunt’. It’s ok, flipping the ‘who are the real monsters?’ narrative, though again the art wasn’t my favourite thing. Story eight gives us another delightfully odd pairing in Aquaman and Frankenstein, starring in ‘Follow the Water’ by Brandon Thomas and Baldemar Rivas. This sees us journey from Mars to Earth to investigate an Atlantean death with ties to the old Cadmus Project, and is more a superhero story than anything else. Even Frankenstein can’t rustle up a scare here.

The last couple of stories starts with ‘Beast Boys to Men’, which wins best title. It features Beast Boy and Klarion in a story written and drawn by Travis Moore. The most lighthearted of the book, it sees Raven kidnapped by Klarion’s familiar, after he expresses his jealousy at Raven and Gar being romantically involved, and the most intimate team-up you’ll see for awhile. We end with ‘Baytor versus Darkseid’, by Garth Ennis and PJ Holden. Ennis writing Darkseid? This I have to see….So, Darkseid’s having a quiet drink in Noonan’s Bar, which just happens to be run by Baytor, demon lord of the criminally insane, and he manages to upset the regulars, It’s all as insane as you would expect and ends up with Darkseid being sick in a cab after losing a drinking down shots contest.

Overall, this is a fun read. Not as scary as it I wanted it to be, and a little more uneven than I also expected, it nonetheless has enough strong elements to make the whole worthwhile. I’m sure a little inventory was used here too. For a seasonal special though, it’ll do.

Happy Halloween!

**** 4/5


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