Desperadoes: Epidemic!
[Homage Comics $5.95 US $9.25 CAN]
Written by Jeff Mariotte / Illustrated by John Lucas / Layouts by John Cassady & John Lucas
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Desperadoes: Epidemic!This issue begins with our four protagonists: Gideon Brood, Jerome Betts, Abby DeGrazia and Race Kennedy running from Sheriff Kelton and his men. In the last Desperadoes mini-series Gideon accidentally shot the Sheriff’s wife in a firefight and the good Sheriff isn’t in a forgiving mood. They escape the Sheriff after a timely avalanche seals their passage and end up in Nacimiento, New Mexico. Nacimiento is a sleepy little town and it’s also under quarantine. A virulent strain of influenza has been ravaging the populace so our heroes are stuck there for the duration.

Those of you familiar with the world of Desperadoes know that while the Western touches are realistic you also get a good dose of the supernatural. Two genres that don’t normally mix yet Mariotte makes it work. The horror element in this story comes in the form of the local Catholic Church which was built on the site of an ancient evil. The Church’s hubris was that God "would tame any devils that lived there." It turns out that wasn’t the case and the ancient evil is once again warping another priest to do its bidding and release it.

It takes a while for the story to get to the monster fighting but it makes up for the lack of action by giving us interesting character interaction. Abby even contemplates staying on in Nacimiento with the Doctor, Harold Balsam.

John Lucas does a decent job on the art giving each character a distinct appearance and the snow-covered settings a stark, realistic feel. John Cassady, the first Desperadoes mini’s illustrator, wasn’t able to work on this one-shot but he did the cover and helped with the layouts. His ultra-detailed style was missed but at least I’m seeing it on Planetary.

I’d love to buy an ongoing Desperadoes series every month but I guess sales don’t warrant that. That’s really too bad because mainstream comics could use more variety and this series isn’t like anything out there.

Check your local retailer’s shelves first but if you don’t have any luck there write to Homage Comics, 7910 Ivanhoe, Suite 438, La Jolla CA, 92037 or visit www.dccomics.com or www.dccomics.com/wildstorm/index.html.