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DEVLIN WAUGH: THE RECKONING, TPB

Writer: Aleš Kot

Artist: Mike Dowling & Patrick Goddard

Publisher: 2000 AD


**CONTENT WARNING: This review discusses a book with several mature themes that may not be suitable for all ages. Parental discretion is advised.


Devlin Waugh: The Reckoning, Cover by Alex Ronald, 2000 AD

WHAT IS IT?

A collection of comedic horror tales featuring a gay vampiric exorcist from the Judge Dredd universe.


Think Ghost Rider meets the depraved humor of The Hangover.


WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

(Minor spoilers)

Devlin Waugh is a bundle of contradictions. He is a gay vampire, but also a freelance exorcist for the Vatican, although their relationship is a begrudging one. With his sidekick, the pink dildo-inhabiting demon of grammar mistakes, Titivillus (but Devlin calls him Titty), the vampire journeys across Europe to investigate the mysteries of the occult.


Lately, however, Titty has been acting quite strange. During an investigation into thefts at a sperm bank, Devlin’s companion admits that some of his past disastrous deeds didn’t need to happen. Devlin thinks nothing of it at the time, for there are bigger things to worry about. But later, Titty’s stories about his life in Hell and who he was acquaintances with don’t add up. Some of the demons he claims to know weren’t around until after Titty left. Is the dildo demon of grammar plotting against Devlin? Can their friendship be saved or has Titty's deception damned them both?


WHAT WORKS

  • Kot excellently develops each character's personality through distinct dialogue. The reader can instantly tell that Devlin is vain and that Titty is nervous and wanders in his thoughts.

  • Heavy blacks and ominous shadows are tastefully used by Goddard in the high points of the stories he draws. They add a ton of intensity and foreboding to the scenes where utilized.

  • Pippa Bowland’s eye for contrast is stellar and her colors squeeze out every bit of drama from pivotal scenes. Her work in the first chapter, The Wolves of St. Vitus, is particularly commendable.

  • Parkhouse demonstrates why she is a household name in lettering through her placement, which flows wonderfully, and the variety in her balloon shapes.

  • Dowling has a keen sense of facial expressions and keeps everything visually interesting even in long stretches of dialogue or exposition. The characters’ personalities truly pop off the page.

  • Variety and tasteful contrasts are strengths in Simon Dowland’s lettering. His black balloons with differing balloon strokes for each supernatural creature distinguish their different voice excellently.

  • Winter’s colors in the last chapter, The Reckoning, are frankly incredible. His textures and lighting add a ton of dimension to the story and the scenes in Hell, in particular, almost glow.

  • Kot makes creative use of multiple time skips, caption boxes, and 4th wall breaking in When I was a Young Demon to humorously divulge its closing events.

  • The art team overall excels at using thoughtful visuals and pacing to ensure every joke lands perfectly.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

  • Content Warning: This book depicts graphic violence, bodily fluids, and sexual instruments, discusses sexual content, and has homophobic slurs directed at the gay protagonist.

  • The dialogue of Titty is often lengthy and drags the pace of the story whenever there are large chunks with him speaking. It would have been better to find ways of demonstrating his rambling nature without undercutting the story.

  • Some chapters of the book could use more variety in their color palettes. Large chunks remain within shades of yellow and purple without much deviation.

  • The first two chapters could have fit in better with the larger story of the proceeding ones. Though they help demonstrate Devlin and Titty’s relationship, they feature characters and plots that don’t come back later.

  • This book may not be the best choice for first-time readers as details from previous installments seem important to the story, but aren’t explained in enough depth to be understood.


WHY SHOULD I READ IT?

Devlin Waugh: The Reckoning, Page 4, Interior Art by Patrick Goddard & Pippa Bowland, 2000 AD

Horror has an unfortunate history of using queer characters as props to be killed or warnings about declining mental health. Devlin Waugh: The Reckoning is a refreshing break away from these tropes where a gay man is unashamedly queer and kicks ass along the way. At the same time, he isn’t a perfect character, prone to arrogance and less concerned about the human lives around him. Aleš Kot manages to craft a story that utilizes these nuances of Devlin perfectly. The Reckoning is both darkly humorous and a dramatic tale of friendship and betrayal.


The art team is bursting with talent. Goddard and Dowling penciled Devlin in their signature styles while maintaining the heart of the story and characters. The former’s very detailed and grand camera angles feel exciting and intense while the latter’s more minimalist approach and focus on emotion gives a peak under the surface. While colorists often get overlooked and their hard work is more felt than seen, Pippa Bowland and Quinton Winters both made me pause in multiple spots and go “damn, that’s some awesome coloring”. Their sense of drama and contrast was astounding. Likewise, the letterers Annie Parkhouse and Simon Bowland tie everything off with a bow, ensuring that these chatterbox characters are smoothly read by the readers.


Perfect for horror fans needing a good laugh, I highly recommend Devlin Waugh: The Reckoning for your next read.


WHAT DO I READ NEXT?

If you like the writing:

  • Zero by Aleš Kot, Jordie Bellaire, Morgan Jeske, Tradd Moore, Mateus Santolouco & Michael Walsh

  • Material by Aleš Kot & Will Tempest

  • Hellblazer by Simon Spurrier & Aaron Campbell


If you like the art:

  • SFSX by Tina Horn & Michael Dowling

  • Aquila: Blood of the Iceni by Gordon Rennie, Leigh Gallagher & Patrick Goddard

  • Trojan by Daniel Kraus & Laci


ABOUT THE CREATORS

Aleš Kot (@ales_kot) – Writer

  • Kot has written comics for nearly 10 years publishing books with Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse, 2000 AD, and Titan Comics. They have been tasked with bringing to life characters such as Bucky Barnes, Gunslinger Spawn, and characters from the Bloodborne universe.

  • In addition to comics, they have also written for television.

  • Kot hails from the Czech Republic.

Mike Dowling (@MikeDowling2020) – Artist

  • An adept artist, Dowling has drawn comics for Marvel, Vertigo, Image, Dynamite, and 2000AD.

  • Dowling hails from the United Kingdom.

Patrick Goddard (@PaddyGod1) - Artist

  • Goddard is a household name mainly known for his work in 2000 AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine but has also worked on Marvel’s Hulk.

  • He provided concept art for Doctor Who that was eventually developed into the 13th Doctor’s costume.

  • Goddard hails from the United Kingdom.

Pippa Bowland (@PippaBowland) – Colorist

  • A relative newcomer, Bowland has been coloring for 2000 AD since 2019 while also contributing her talents to books from Dynamite, Aftershock, Heavy Metal, and Ahoy! Comics.

  • She is comics letterer Simon Bowland’s wife.

  • Bowland hails from the United Kingdom.

Quinton Winter (@QuintonWinter) – Colorist

  • An in-demand artist, Winter has worked for 2000 AD and DC comics, but also for news sites such as The Guardian, Rolling Stone, GQ, and Esquire.

  • He was the colorist on the Eisner-nominated Vertigo book Clean Room and won the National Book Award with Ben Brooks on their children’s book Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different.

  • Winter hails from the United Kingdom.

Annie Parkhouse – Letterer

  • Having a decades-long career of quality lettering under her belt, Parkhouse is the lead letterer of Judge Dredd and has done work for Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse.

  • In addition to letters, she is also a writer, a former ceramics teacher, and an architectural librarian.

  • Parkhouse hails from the United Kingdom.

Simon Bowland (@SimonBowland) – Letterer

  • A prolific letterer, Bowland has worked for nearly every major comics publisher.

  • He is comics colorist Pippa Bowland’s husband.

  • Bowland hails from the UK.


HOW DO I BUY IT?


The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.


All Devlin Waugh: The Reckoning characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright of 2000 AD or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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