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Book Review: Last Train to Deadsville – Author Steve Niles


Written by Steve Niles
Artwork by Kelley Jones
Published by Dark Horse
Publication Date: 2005
Format: color with 144 pages
Price: $2.95

Something about the graphic novel “Last Train to Deadsville” feels classic. I can’t put my finger on it but when you read it you expect to see some old detective calling everyone “dame” and smoking a cigar. Our hero comes in the form of Cal McDonald, a rebellious take no crap, kind of anti-hero who likes to fight demons, monsters and what ever comes along. With is sidekick Mo’lock they are fit to be tied and kicking ass 24-7. Mo’lock is a ghoul, a soulless being but still he fight the good fight and aids Cal in every situation he gets himself into.

Pretty quickly the pages come alive with Batman like power punches against Mummy’s and demons. the style is enhanced by leading up into dynamic page illustrations that pop out of the pages like they were in 3D. My favorite piece of course is the Succubus reveal, but we’ll get to that. Anyways, before we get too far let’s give thanx to our creators writer Steve Niles and artist Kelley Jones. they know how to make a story sing!

On first impression I was finding myself comparing notes between the TV show “Dresden Files”, and the films “Hellboy” and “Constantine”. Cal is actually closer to “Constantine” but has a case of “Hellboy’s ego. In any case you can see where I’m going with this. Fearless, proud, and determined…that’s Cal for ya.

Sabrina Lynch is his love interest. Girlfriend as she calls it, but none the less Cal doesn’t seem to be the long relationship type. Regardless of what he thinks, she one hot tough ass chick who comes along for the ride to help battle out these demons.

Billy Ray Wilkes has gone too far. He’s dabbled with the wrong literature and unleashed a horde of demons per an old spell book. Cal isn’t worried though he is concerned on what “exactly the boy has unleashed. After cleaning him out and getting the demons to abandon the young soul, they find that the nightmare has only begun. So it seems, the boy reluctantly released a pretty dangerous Succubus which has the whole town male population turning into zombies for her. Cal has a hard time warding off her beauty and charm and so Mo comes to the rescue. Beautifully done, the Succubus is both alluring and sexy even for a cartoon. The highlight of the story comes in the way of a giant succubus spread who is one nasty looking bitch. Well the fight is on and the heroes of the story fight for there lives to battle against the minions of the dark world.

A great story with even greater artwork! The demon illustrations are fantastic and vicious. just what a horror fans needs! I would have liked to have seen a bit more detail in the pen work, but it still is an effectively done job. I guess I’m still stuck in “Spawn” mode maybe. The story moves at a nice flow and doesn’t get grounded in psychological details, which for me is a plus as those kind of reads can tend to lose me after a while. Great job by Dark Horse Books. I look forward to many adventures with this team. It has comedy just enough to keep things sarcastic enough to be to be entertaining. The TPB covers 4 chapters.

Available from Dark Horse
Available from Amazon

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