Weekend at Eddie’s
“The Things a Father will Do”

You’d think Eddie’s got it made, wouldn’t ya? Sure he’s been kicked plenty by the demonic crime families, maybe even more than his fair share—but them’s the breaks when you’ve sold your soul and ended up cursed for your troubles. Even considering his habit of getting in over his head where the infernal are concerned, Eddie’s managed to wriggle out from under Big All Aligheri’s thumb and position himself as the owner of The Gehenna Room nightclub. And even though he has a knack for futzing around where the demons don’t want him, it don’t hurt none that he also has this knack for coming back from the dead if anybody touches his corpse—leaving whoever touched him pushing up daisies In his place … when he dies, even for a short time, he catches a glimpse of a ghostly otherworld populated with lost souls, one of whom might be his own dear old mother.

A sequel to Bunn and Hurtt’s demon noir tale The Damned was inevitable as well as appreciated. There were plenty of questions about our hero, Eddie, and his past remaining. Rather than tread water, the duo mines new territory by focusing on family. Eddie springs from the tradition of the Jim Rockford (The Rockford Files), the private investigator who dives into situations and often gets his butt kicked. Cursed by beings known as the Verlochin, Eddie meanders along confidently as the loner, his actions and choices impact those around him, even those he thought left behind like his equally cursed brother (Morgan) and gone-but-not-forgotten mother.

“Ya could at least pretend to care that I’m the one who gets marked every time ya pull one of yer grifts.” –Morgan

The layered story involves flashbacks from Eddie and Morgan’s childhood when they witnessed their father making deals with demons, the love/hate relationship between the brothers (every time Eddie dies, his brother Morgan receives a new scar), and the intriguing family dynamic surrounding demon adversary and his own daughter. But it all comes back to Eddie.

Eddie believes himself fully in control of his various dealings and situations. His foolish plans stem from him thinking that he has everything figured out. Thus he ends up dead for a good chunk of the series while his corpse is whisked from one bad scenario to a worse one. One of the axioms thrown at people is that once you hit rock bottom, once reached the end of your ability to do things on your own, God has you exactly where He wants you: dependent on Him. That might be one way of looking at a prodigal son.

“There ain’t no coming back from the dead. At least not for most of us.” –Morgan

The story of the prodigal son is found in Luke 15:11-32. Basically, there was a man with two sons, both of whom he wanted to follow in his footsteps. The prodigal decided to ask for his share of the inheritance so that he could live life on his own terms, while the other remained with his father. Soon, however, the road got rough and the prodigal ended up doing all sorts of things to survive, eventually hitting rock bottom. He realized that he had placed himself in that situation, prayed about it, and returned home. His father ran to him when he saw him and prepared a huge celebration for him in order to say “welcome home.” In other words, it is a story of ruin and reconciliation – a story of a spiritual journey.

When you understand the culture of the original story, you understand that when the prodigal asks his father for his share of the inheritance, he was wishing that his father were dead. When the father runs to the son, he shames himself (first century Jewish men never ran). But the father didn’t stop loving him because he’s rebelled and failed. The son beat himself up with the consequences of his decisions.

The subtext of Eddie’s dilemma is that each time he dies, he’s transported to a kind of purgatory while he waits for a resurrection. His life is one of continuing mistakes and continual rebirths, hopefully the wiser at each turn. The prodigal’s conviction of faith has to be a matter of repentance; to the life he was meant to lead, and then be reconciled with the people in his life. That’s what marks most journeys, mistakes and moving forward.

The Father remains his father and has an inheritance he can’t squander.

Based solidly in character, the non-stop action of The Damned: Prodigal Sons delivers both horror and darkly comic turns. Bunn, with a solid ear for dialogue and a tight script, crams a lot into the reading experience with his dense script and Hurtt is phenomenal at capturing the gloom of the story. Not only does he deliver action sequences, but he captures the emotions of the characters in every panel.

During the Oni Press panel at Comic Con, Cullen Bunn announced his upcoming horror graphic novel, The Hollows. Due in 2009, it gives us something else to look forward to.

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