by Paul Cornell, Tony Parker and Lovern Kindzierski
Paul Cornell and Tony Parker bring readers a story that returns to the psychedelic era of Rock and Roll. With This Damned Band, the creators tell the tale of a rock band with international fame and lots of demands who may not be the dark worshipers they play on stage. Unfortunately, their dabbling in these arts may have led them to an individual they never had any intention of meeting. This Damned Band #1 is a fun first issue that balances capturing the era with a really interesting twist.
Cornell is not simply featuring a rock band from the 1970’s to display the lifestyle of famous rockers through a fictitious band. The story of Mother Father presented in This Damned Band has a bit more going for it. When the story opens, readers are reading through the narration from the band’s frontman, Justin. Not only is this a story that focuses in on a single band, but it is through the lens of a documentary about them. The panels on display are through the lens of the camera crew, and the book continues to overlay bits of dialogue from the band members talking for this documentary. Through these candid scenes, and the request to cut pieces out, Cornell manages to tell more story than is being outwardly written. Some of the band’s stage life and artistic vision are put on for the fans, and for appearances. It’s an interesting choice that is successful in not only covering more back story within a small amount of space, but making the individuals of the new series all the more rich and interesting. After just a single issue, the use of this documentary format, along with some choice lines offered, then quickly retracted, Cornell has presented so much about the leading characters. But, this is a book that manages to pair its intriguing script with great art.
From the start, the aesthetics from the overall design to the colors by Lovern Kindzierski, the new book from Dark Horse Comics is really fantastic. The credits page is an amazing touch, employing the look of concert bills from the time. On the facing page, Parker and Kindzierski treat readers to a gorgeous image that embodies the look of Rock and Roll from that time. Throughout this first issue, This Damned Band has a sensation about it that makes all of the images feel fluid and in motion. That is not to suggest that the story is throttling forward in motion, but instead, there is a quality that makes the imagery feel active in a way. Parker is an excellent artist, and his choices from the band members down to the hallucinatory second performance in Japan are further evidence of the artist’s craft and consideration for the story’s visual construction. When paired with Kinzierski’s art, the final product is truly wonderful. These creators have found a way to capture the essence of this time period.
The story begins to take an interesting turn beyond the halfway point. With only a few subtle hints that something is amiss, suddenly the readers will catch on to an underlying plot. As the story moves towards the final panels, Cornell and the art team add in an entirely new and unexpected angle to the book. With this conclusion, This Damned Band has even more to offer heading into its second issue. These band members may likely regret pretending to have an affinity for the dark arts. This Damned Band is a well-crafted new story with a ton of potential.