Miranda Coler lived an unassuming frontier life before her husband and child were killed in front of her, and she herself was left for dead. Little did the killers know that Miranda is cursed, unable to die until she exacts vengeance against those who have wronged her…
Written by Ben Acker & Ben Blacker and Andrew Miller , and gorgeously realized by illustrator Hannah Christenson , Death Be Damned is an unflinching Western with a supernatural twist that explores the toll one takes while on a quest for revenge.
Death Be Damned has a pretty chaotic opening sequence. Armed horsemen ride away from a disheveled homestead. A woman floating face down in a pond stirs, rises, and gasps for air. She drags herself to the house to find her home turned upside down and the bodies of her husband and young daughter. She buries her dead and heads into town to do some killing. Miranda Coller doesn’t mess around.
When she’s shot dead for the second time that day, she meets the local undertaker, who may be the key to her strange condition, but is only willing to help her at a price. Incidentally, he’s also the guy who shoots her dead for the third time in 24 hours, with her own six piece.
Death Be Damned has some familiar elements, but takes a few unexpected turns. All the classic Western character tropes are present. We get the Native who doesn’t fit in despite his best efforts, the scorned widow, and the tough-as-nails brothel madam. Many of the classic Western themes also pop up, but Ben Acker, Ben Blacker and Andrew Miller throw a little Eric Draven and Al Simmons into the mix to keep it interesting.
Hannah Christenson brings a rough, gritty aesthetic that works really well for this story. Everything’s a little dirty. All the characters show the scars and lines of hard living. Even the pretty ones. Just a little bit ugly, because, you know, Western. The only pure beauty in the book exists in The Underneath, and in the ether between worlds.
The whole “cheating death to right a wrong” theme has been done once or twice. Death Be Damned puts a fresh spin and some period flavor on a familiar story. If you’re into The Damned, Spawn, Witchblade, or The Crow, give this one a go. It’s a fun little Western zombie vendetta.
Death Be Damned SC, published by BOOM! Studios, released 29 November 2017. Written by Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, and Andrew Miller. Illustrated by Hannah Christenson. Color by Juan Useche. Letters by Colin Bell.