The Devil’s Trail
Ian Moore — 02-Mar-11
This comes from the publisher Creator’s Edge and is an introduction to what will apparently be a full graphic novel later this year. It has a Western setting, with a protagonist reminiscent of such enigmatic characters from the films as Shane or Clint Eastwood’s man with no name. However, it is not a straight Western, as it incorporates supernatural horror elements on a scale to render the setting almost post-apocalyptic. Thankfully, these supernatural elements are not zombies or vampires. Instead Lindsay and McCann give us a Wild West where people are falling prey to a plague of demonic possession.
Herschel, the protagonist, is tracking a sinister character called Jericho, who may indeed by the Devil himself (hence the title), battling the unfortunates who now house the spirits of fallen angels. He attempts an exorcism, suggesting at least some knowledge of the ways of the Damned, but primarily he must deal with the possessed by killing them. The story cuts between his journey and that of Jericho, bringing more people under the control of his demonic brethren.
The Western form lends itself well to this kind of horror writing – the likes of the Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns already have a gothic feel to them, even if they eschew anything obviously supernatural. So with The Devil’s Trail the combination of the horror and Western elements does not jar. McMunn’s stylised art (reminiscent of Paul Grist’s work on Jack Staff) helps here, with the angularity of the characters suggesting both the aridity of the Wild West and the ungodly horror of the demonic’s intrusion into it. The almost monochromatic colour is also rather evocative of the West’s implacable sun, also suggesting the bleakness of a world possessed by the Devil.