Damn Them All #10
The 500 Club has a new world order in mind, and Ellie is caught in the middle; she's set up and without a prayer.
Cillian will stop at nothing to induct Bloody El into his demonic hivemind, and Ellie will have to try something unconventional with Glasya Labolas to shake things up... but will it work as expected?
Damn Them All #10 – written by Simon Spurrier with art by Charlie Adlard, colors from Sofie Dodgson and assists by Daniel Silva De Carvalho, and lettering from Jim Campbell – starts to weave the threads of this arc together, connecting the various plots into a cohesive story of betrayal and hurt, along with the lengths a person is willing to go for love. El has rejected Cillian’s offer and now appears at the seat of demonic government power, learning about the system that Theo Bolster has established in the wake of Alfie’s mistake.
The rich and powerful serve as a twisted version of the House of Lords, ruling London from the shadows to establish what El calls “trickle-down magic”. The 500 Club has used its leverage of understanding and controlling the Goetic Demons to enact the plan to make London great again and show the citizens what they want by creating monsters and then quickly dispatching them. El sees it for the same racket the rich always are running, and her appearance here is revealed to be Cillian’s trojan horse to set the angels against the Club.
Spurrier takes the opportunity to move away from the more personal elements of this arc to refocus on some of the stark commentary with this issue, channeling the magic of his Hellblazer run. On the other side of the pond, the notion of the rich taking advantage of a traumatic situation to reinforce hierarchies and social systems is a relatable concept. Then to layer it with a two-party system of blind faith in a “more progressive” option that seems just as unappealing is a big mood for 2023.
Just because the scripting takes those timely critiques of systems of power in the face of tragedy doesn’t mean it drops the intricate plot unfolding in the story. The issue opens with a continued reveal of El and Cillian’s past, making clear the split of these two characters is immediate, as El barrels forward while Cillian seems to be more open to the other possibilities of reality. It’s a dynamic that Spurrier echoes in the present of the story, creating a rich parallel structure that makes for a compelling, self-fulling prophecy.
Those patterns and rhythms are an inherent part of the story, and the language Spurrier deploys throughout the issue in narration and dialogue reinforces it. Alliterations abound in this issue, with the line “Form follows function follows faith” creating a rich yet slippery pattern that compels the reader to slide further into the various ideologies clashing in this issue. Spurrier makes it easy to emphasize with Cillian’s perspective through this buttery language in his caption boxes.
Much of that hypnotic rhythm is a result of Adlard’s artwork, especially in its representation of the throbbing lines of magic emanating from Cillian. The golden veins of mental magic create a hive effect that creates a flow even when it only occurs once or twice on a page. The energy pathways are a writhing, throbbing nexus of specific linework and colors that enthrall the reader, making them focus on the pattern when it moves away from the page.
Elsewhere in the issue, Adlard’s compositions and layouts make for a fascinating delivery of such thematically dense discussions. The blocking of moving conversations intercut with multiple examples of lives altered the the demons and coins gives a kinetic energy that ensures there’s no lag in an issue that is primarily discussions and reflections. The splash pages in the issue are used to showcase scale rather than violent, vicious action, and that decision informs the construction of this issue’s pacing and vibrancy. Even the cold open is lacking in any real bombastic quality, but even so, the artwork and layouts make it more compelling to experience than most blockbuster comics.
There would be no sense of urgency or compelling imagery in this issue with the coloring by Dodgson. The palette of this issue intertwines the primordial nature of the demons, the ugliness of modern London, and the radiant brights of the angelic presence. It’s the spectrum of this series all wrapped into one issue, and the coloring bridges the gap by interjecting the respective elements into various scenes. Echoing the golden hues of the angelic presence in Cillian’s demonic magic, or reflecting the rainbow tones clashing against the harsh reds of Asmoday’s appearance makes for a visual contrast that captivates every page.
Dense, seemingly complex ideas go hand in hand with Damn Them All, but issue #10 makes clear that Occam's razor of it all is the probable answer. There’s not some great big mystery at work, it’s just rich idiots trying to play god and make themselves feel better by giving to the poor. Cillian is not trying to make the world a better place, he is gathering power to try and change El into the person who will reciprocate his love by making deals with twisted angels. Only the demons of this series seem to have real complexity in their straightforward series of skills and desires.
Damn Them All #10: Trickle-Down Magic
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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