With Dark Horse Entertainment’s motion picture release of “R.I.P.D.” hitting theaters next summer, the publisher has decided to team up with writer Jeremy Barlow, and artist Tony Parker, to bring back Peter M. Lenkov’s original characters for a 4-issue mini-series. R.I.P.D.: City of the Damned functions as a prequel to the upcoming feature film, and acquaints readers with the intrinsic and indispensable properties that characterize Lenkov’s world.
WRITTEN BY: Jeremy Barlow
ART BY: Tony Parker
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: November 28th
For all you R.I.P.D. virgins, the basic story centers around a slain U.S. Marshall named Roy Pulsipher, an equally dead Chicago cop named Nick Walker, and their journey as undead police officers working for the Rest In Peace Department; a divine law establishment which serves the Almighty by protecting the living world from evil and ensuring the dead move on into the afterlife. It’s a remarkably fun concept, which might sound familiar if you watched MTV’s “Death Valley”, or if you read Chap Taylor and Peter Johnson’s “Haunted City” from Aspen Comics.
Issue #1 opens with a single panel dedicated to the exterior of Rest In Peace Department Headquarters, which Parker models after the Roman Colosseum and, apparently, the Burj Khalifa, as he portrays a timeless and strong structure that appears to stand as tall as the sky. It’s a very telling first page, as the majority of the story takes place a century ago to chronicle Roy’s journey through his recruitment to the R.I.P.D.
The issue mainly takes you into the interior of R.I.P.D. Headquarters where Parker’s artistic vision explodes into an arrangement of chronologically inconsistent events, cultures, objects and people from different historical eras. In one panel, you can spy an iron bridge from Victorian France, traditional Chinese lanterns, a futuristic administrative assistant who looks like she belongs in “The Fifth Element” but is working inside a Japanese temple, which just happens to be beside a Mayan tomb. Let me just reiterate that this anachronistic Charlie Foxtrot is featured in one panel.
The rest of the issue follows our sarcastically cranky protagonist, Roy Pulsipher, a fantastically old western styled cowboy, and his Puritan partner, Crispin Mather, as they embark on an R.I.P.D. assignment, in hopes of defeating a mysterious evil and finding answers to the circumstances surrounding Roy’s death.
It’s a solid first issue which delves into the origins of how Roy comes to work for R.I.P.D.; it’s a great starting point for new readers who are interested in the Film. Parker’s renderings add to the script, and bring Barlow’s vision alive with his superb visual storytelling. Even though it feels like the background story is compressed into insufficient space, the premise is still refreshing, and I’m looking forward to the next installment.
Reviewed by – ShadowJayd
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