Review - R.I.P.D. - City of the Damned #1

Stop me if you've heard this one before. A cowboy, a priest and a samurai take an elevator down towards hell. That's a new joke you say? It's not really a joke, but actually the core of the new book R.I.P.D. - City of the Damned #1 from Dark Horse Comics.

The first issue is written by Jeremy Barlow, with art by Tony Parker, colors by Michelle Madsen and letters by Richard Starkings and Comicraft.

R.I.P.D. stands for Rest In Peace Department, a group of dead cops who work in divine law enforcement. They're always looking for quality recruits to help them make sure that those who die pass on where they're supposed to pass on. The first issue focuses on Nick Walker, a modern cop, and old west lawman Roy Pulsipher.

The two are fighting to save the world from an unspeakable evil and that's how the book opens. The book finishes with a flashback though, looking back a century to learn more about Roy and his R.I.P.D. involvement. Roy uses his newfound status as a member of R.I.P.D. to learn that there are some things even he will have difficulty handling.

The concept of dead cops working in divine law enforcement is really interesting. Barlow spends much more time with Roy in the first issue, presenting him as someone clearly tired of always fighting the good fight. The opportunity to spend a century chasing dead bad guys proves alluring to him and will likely present him with a ton of interesting cases.

Parker's art fits the story very well. It's possible he drew inspirations from his work on Dead Man's Run, which is about a prison in hell. That's not to say that this is derivative of that, but there's likely some overlap in design styles and what not. The evil faced at the end of the issue is sufficiently frightening, emphasizing the stakes the R.I.P.D. are faced with.

R.I.P.D. - City of the Damned #1 is an intriguing comic with a refreshing premise. Yes, it's currently being filmed as a movie with Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges, but you shouldn't view this is a tie-in. It's a series on its own that introduces you to Roy Pulsipher, a newly branded man with a desire to arrest the dead.

R.I.P.D. - City of the Damned #1 is in stores now.