Ever wonder what happens in those small tiny towns you drive through on your way to places more important? The citizens of Dreary would rather you keep moving along your way before you stir up trouble.
THE DEVIL IS DUE IN DREARY #1
Writer: David Parkin
Penciller: Allan Jefferson
Inker: Jonas Trindade
Colorist: Diego Tapie
Cover Artist: Alex Sanchez
Letterer: Richard Emms
Editor: Daryl Freimark
Publisher: Ardden Entertainment
Cover Price: $3.99
Take pity upon the person who has made a deal with the devil, Dear Reader! Those who make the deal are sure to regret it on their deathbed, but according to David Parkin, the devil will get you anyway. Or at least that is the premise that is set up in the opening pages of the book, as a dying pastor tells his son, Marshal, of his transgressions, and warns that the devil is coming for the quiet desert town of Dreary.
When the old man dies, Marshal bemoans that he is all alone (except for his sister), and when the devil does appear, Marshal attempts to save pa’s soul. I guess no one told him that when you mess with the devil, you’re gonna get the horns, as the devil has no problem taking a pop-shot at a lantern setting part of the room on fire and horribly burning and mutilating Marshal’s face and hand. After the hubbub dies down, Marshal discovers a poem about the devil’s return, and apparently takes it to heart for the next 55 years as he becomes the town preacher and gets everyone under his thumb. Apparently the poem (written by his late father) foretells of the devil’s return, three days before the Spring when a couple of outlaws come to town.
Smash cut to today when Jack Cannon is released from prison. He soon hooks up with his old pal Tino Villanueva, and the two are ready to get back to their old ways. There is a lot of tough guy action that takes place leading up to Jack’s release to let you know these two criminals aren’t to be trifled with, but a lot of it feels like filler. You’re a tough guy, we get it.
Tino is a sharp shooter, and he too has a messed up face and what looks like a problem with one of his hands. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but it certainly has the potential to cause problems for the reader. When you are casting actors for roles, one of the things a young director learns early on is not to cast unknown actors who look a lot alike because it will confuse the audience. That’s kind of what happens here with the two disfigured characters. While the names have been changed, there are a few moments when one wonders if young Marshal didn’t change his name to escape the past, and at the same time didn’t age normally because of his encounter with the unknown. It turns out that isn’t what happens here, but it does make you wonder why both characters have similar injuries.
Of course you know what happens next, the two stories collide, and the town is now terrified that the devil’s return is imminent.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILED ART
I like seeing what independent artists can do with a story as they establish their identities. Allan Jefferson has a really interesting style that contains a great amount of detail. Of course the flip side is that too much detail causes the panel to look too cluttered and messy, and there are a few times when this does occur. There’s also a very different layout style that is going on here. Jefferson uses a lot of smaller panels that overlap and stack with one another, which is interesting to view, but there are a couple of times when the reading order gets confusing as one double page spread is a bit jumbled because the center of the book splits the panels to make it look like two separate pages.
BOTTOM LINE: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IS ANYONE’S GUESS
I’m not sure how I ended up with a print edition of this book. I’m sure I was placing an order at the last minute and this somehow got mixed in with another book I was expecting, and that is okay – sometimes happy mistakes lead to a new found love. The Devil is Due in Dreary is an interesting mix of From Dusk Till Dawn and a Twilight Zone episode. It’s a slow burn to get to the real story of the issue, and then once there, it’s time to wait for issue #2. The art is good, though it does get overly detailed in places. At this point I want to know what happens next, but if I didn’t order the second issue, it isn’t going to kill me. The Devil is Due in Dreary #1 earns 2.5 out of 5 Stars.