“Alas, poor Sundowners, I knew it, a comic of infinite jest, of most excellent illustrations.” – Shakespeare
My much beloved Sundowners (aka the comic that deserved so much more) has released its second volume, containing the series’ final arc. Seeley and Terry did a great job with the first arc and the second appeared to have a lot of potential before the transition to digital. So now that it’s been neatly packaged into a volume, is it good?
Sundowners Vol. 2 (Dark Horse Comics)
The first volume established the (literally) crazy premise of the Sundowners support group and their pursuit of crime-fighting. Seeley began the series as a realistic horror/mystery and by the end of the first volume it read as more of a surreal horror with fantastical aspects to it. This second volume emphasizes those same themes as our heroes encounter real supervillains while fully accepting their super-heroic abilities as a reality.
I honestly don’t understand how Sundowners wasn’t a success, but the fact is the copies weren’t clearing the shelves. While I don’t think it was originally intended for the series to be wrapped up in two volumes, the straight to digital copies must have forced Seeley’s hand to make this second volume the finale. Considering it might not have been planned to go that way and the first nine issues had opened some major plot lines, Seeley does a decent job in tying up any loose ends and making issue eleven (the final issue in the volume) a seemingly sound finish to the series as a whole.
While Seeley has done an impressive job co-writing Grayson with Tom King, the DC title doesn’t adequately demonstrate his talents as a writer. Sundowners can almost be considered experimental fiction given the depths Seeley takes the narration and character monologues. The discussions that take place in these issues can are surprisingly deep at times, i.e. the thought provoking debates on the definition of holiness versus the folly of man. These discussions are then complemented by crass, witty, and topical quips throughout the issues (Most thanks to Crowlita’s character who is my personal favorite) that make the series thoroughly entertaining.
Jim Terry has consistently done a quality job throughout both of these issues and it’s to his credit that Sundowners could be considered a horror comic due to his creature illustrations and dark-toned settings. There are a number of psychedelic and surreal panels in this volume in particular that Terry nails which are some of my favorite from any series I’ve read. I noticed in these issues in particular that a lot of the comedy is derived from the images rather than the writing and that Terry deserves a lot of credit for the execution of the humor, whether it was in the facial expressions or character positioning. I do have to give a shout out to Sean Dove, the colorist, who also contributed a great deal to the aesthetic success of the comic.
Is It Good?
I’ll refrain from more Shakespeare, but it really is unfortunate that this comic didn’t thrive because it’s truly under appreciated. Seeley gives us a wildly fantastical and surprisingly deep and entertaining story and Jim Terry was able to bring it to life. Despite its short-lived run, Seeley was able to make a clean ending that leaves the reader satisfied on the final page. Volume 2 will be released August 26th.