Sundowners #1 (Comics Review)

I recently started reading Tim Seeley’s works with his now-ended run on Top Cow’s Witchblade, his new series Grayson for DC Comics and his work on the multi-author Batman: Eternal weekly series. He is certainly among one of my favourite writers, though I haven’t always liked his work but regardless, he is one of those writer-artists that I want to experience more of. His Revival series for Image is a title I’ve long had my eye on, and will hopefully be getting a start on soon enough. In the meantime however, I have his brand-new series for Dark Horse, Sundowners, to tide me over.

This new book has to be the trippiest book I’ve read since Max Bemis’ Polarity from Boom Studios (last year, I think). It presents a world where superheroes are real, but not in the sense that they actually have powers, they just are regular people acting as vigilantes in most cases. And they dress up of course. There are five main characters here in this issue, and each offers something different to the reader. In many ways, the trippy nature of this comic makes it one of my favourite Tim Seeley reads to date, and the art by Jim Terry and Sean Dove is also impressive, really getting across the dirty and gritty nature of the world.

Sundowners 001This isn’t a straight-up superhero comic, not by any means. It presents characters who are flawed and perhaps even unbalanced to a degree. They suffer from various disorders that make them think they are seeings things that shouldn’t be there, villains that is. This is where the trippy nature of the comic really comes in and in no way does Tim Seeley hold back on that. He is fully committed here, and that’s what really works in the end. He doesn’t go half-way and then turn back. The confusion that comes through in the comic is part of the feel, the atmosphere, and I dare say that the audience for this kind of a comic is going to be very specific indeed.

David Shrejic is the primary character here, a (perhaps self-styled) psychiatrist who is currently treating four people for the hitherto undiagnosed Sundowners Syndrome (re: the above). He has four patients that he gets together for group sessions and in this issue we are told that this has been going on for a while, and yet we get a great recap of what each of these four heroes fear, what they have seen that scared the hell out of them. Shrejic is as flawed as his patients however, because he professes one thing but does quite the opposite, making him no less capable of being diagnosed himself than his patients.

And I like it. There is a darkness to this comic, something very real-world that speaks to modern situations. Each of the four heroes, Crowlita, Citizen, Arcanika and Patient Wolf have experienced things that have turned out to be impossible or to not exist, and that’s what they are trying to figure out as a group. Tim Seeley takes the lowest of the lows for his characters, people in everyday crap jobs with better motivations than most would credit them with, and he spins a really compelling tale around them and with David Shrejic.

And then, in a startling twist, something really, really bad happens at the end of the comic, which is when you realize that Tim Seeley was building up to something exactly like this. He is unpredictable in the extreme in this comic, and I loved that. I was surprised at every turn and I value that ability to surprise the reader in a writer.

Jim Terry is the penciller for this issue with Sean Dove doing the colours and CRANK! doing the letters with the cover done by Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi. Looking at the cover, I wouldn’t really pick up the comic, but the fact that Tim Seeley has written it, makes it worth the pick-up in the end. And then you start turning the pages, and you find out that there is more to this than appears on the surface. There is a very rough-edged quality to Jim’s pencils and Sean’s colours are dark and mesmerizing and horror-like. Goes without saying that the art contributes really well to the tension of the story and they work together perfectly.

Rating: 9/10

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Posted on September 1, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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