(A classic review from the now defunct Geeks Unleashed site.)
From Dark Horse Comics, Tim Seeley, Jim Terry, Sean Dove, Crank!
Sundowners is one of the best mind jobs I’ve had while reading comics in years. The comic blurs fantasy and reality so well the reader will still be guessing on the final page. The great thing is, the answer doesn’t really matter. In the end an incredible tale was told no matter who may or may not be in their right mind.
Tim Seeley has always been a writer bursting with creative ideas. Years later and there’s still no one who can touch Cassie Hack (Proud member of Allison Scagliotti for Cassie Hack movement here.) Sundowners starts off with a super heroine enjoying the night air for all its darkness and wonders. Then that is the last we see of The Pigeon for… quite awhile. Its time to focus on the other heroes, where else? In the local support group.
Crowlita, Concerned Citizen, Arcanika, and Karl Volf all have been diagnosed with Sundowner Syndrome. Sundowning is an actual psychological phenomenon in which people suffer from a sort of dementia, usually as night approaches. The Sundowners believe themselves to be heroes of the night. Are they or is this all a way to escape from their minds and find some sort of purpose to their broken lives?
Its an amazing premise that builds up the uncertainty with an unreliable psychiatrist David “Shreds” Shrejic. When the character who should be the most objective, the most trustworthy, turns out to be as horribly messed up as his patients, who can be believed? Adding yet another patch to the crazy quilt is the big bad of the series. An invisible big bad. It is the unanswerable question, how does one prove they’re not crazy?
Throughout the series every one of these characters has a full story told which only confuses readers more. Every person in their lives react to them in ways that are open to interpretation. Is that look of scorn a reaction to a misguided hero or a crazy person? That is up to the reader and either side has more than enough examples to choose from. All of those cool colleges that teach comic books need to put Sundowners on the syllabus solely for the endless debates it could inspire in the classroom.
To avoid too many (or any) spoilers lets take one character, Arcanika. She believes her powers are a result of a wager between God and the Devil. Will a good person do bad things if those bad things give the power to do more good? Arcanika steals, she lies, she does things with her body that she shouldn’t. All to build up the strength for the moment her heroism is needed. Or… Is she just a person who has what society feels are impure desires and she is looking for a way to justify those feelings? Come on! This is late night stoned logic but in the hands of an immensely talented writer.
Jim Terry rocks the house too. I’ve gone on about the premise for so long its a disservice to the art. No matter what your interpretation is of the story, Jim is the man to prove your point. He hits the action scenes hard and there is no lack of great super hero fights throughout the comic. But then he gets the quiet moments, the drama, packed with expressions and colors and lighting that bring out the intensities of these moments. Is that look from our might be crazy hero one of determination or lunacy? It can be either in the craftsmanship of Jim Terry.
If this review has your curiosity piqued at all be sure to buy this graphic novel and ensure fans like us get another volume of Sundowners. Crazy people have the best stories anyways.