Indie Comics Review: LUCKY DEVIL #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Fran Galan
Colours: Fran Galan
Letters: El Torres
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Lucky Devil #1: A down-on-his-luck schlub is possessed by a malevolent demon. Just when he thinks things can’t get worse, the exorcism goes wrong . . . and he finds that somehow he’s retained all of the entity’s supernatural gifts. After a path of revenge on all the people that have wronged him, he begins to gather worshippers and form a cult.
But the legions of Hell don’t take kindly to this, and they send demonic agents to murder the schlub-turned-god before he gains too much power.
Lucky Devil #1 brings us a new story from Cullen Bunn about a loser who gains powers through demonic possession and a botched exorcism. From the way the issue ends, I doubt that the protagonist is going to use these abilities to become a super hero. In fact, it seems he’s more inclined to take the villainous route.
I did detect a number of similarities to another Dark Horse comic, The Mask, the inspiration for the Jim Carrey movie. That story also featured a timid schlub, who gained supernatural powers then took revenge on his tormentors. Bunn’s protagonist even bears the same name: Stanley.
However, where The Mask‘s powers were cartoony and humorous in nature, this Stanley’s powers reflect their Hellish origin. Bunn’s story is more of a horror story than a comedy. Bunn isn’t going for the laughs. And even though the two stories share a similar starting point, I doubt that Bunn is going to take the story in a similar direction. There is an edge of dark humour to the book, but it’s quite different than the over the top wackiness of The Mask.
Stanley’s situation leaves gives a demon lord the opportunity to possess him. As, he narrates, “The say that when you’re tired and beaten down and depressed… that’s whey you’re most susceptible to the influence of dark forces. That’s how I met Zed”. Zed is short for Zedirex the Tormentor. And the demon goes on a rampage, attacking those who had wronged Stanley – and any innocent bystanders along the way.
However, that exertion took its toll on the Zedirex, and forced him to cede control back to Stanley while he rested. Full of self-loathing, he finds an occult store that offers exorcisms among other things. While it seems successful at first, he finds that he still has the demon’s infernal powers even with the demon gone.
The story ends on a surprising note. Stanley is in a support group, having told them his story. But instead of bemoaning his situation, he states “If I had had a little backup, I –we– might actually get what we deserve. So the real question is… who’s with me?”. Stanley seems inspired to use his powers for his own enrichment, and that of his fellow downtrodden associates.
This does sound somewhat sinister, but isn’t necessarily so. Is he intending to use his ability to right the wrongs that he and the others have experienced? Or is he planning to take bloody revenge for them? I suspect that that that is the question that lies at the core of this story.
This is my first encounter with the art of Fran Galan, but his art seems well suited to this Lucky Devil. The character designs evoke a the humorous edge of the story, but not so much as to make the book look cartoony. When the story is more focused on the horror aspects of the story, the art looks truly horrific and gory. In a lot of places, the art gave me an EC Comics horror vibe.
As I stated above, there seems some similarity to The Mask in Bunn’s story. This means there is a danger that Cullen Bunn’s story might become too derivative. However, I am sure that Bunn will be taking his story in a different direction. I highly doubt that Bunn’s story will prove to be just The Mask rewritten as a horror story.
Lucky Devil #1 starts off an intriguing new story from Cullen Bunn and Fran Galan. If the upcoming issues are as good as this one, then this is going to be a Hell of a series. But the real Hell will be the wait for issue #2.