Devlin Waugh, Blood Debt
CREATIVE TEAM: Rory McConville, Aleš Kot (w) Mike Dowling (a) Simon Bowland (l)
Reviewed By Tarn Richardson
Blood Debt collects the most recent four Rebellion-published stories featuring Devlin Waugh, one of 2000AD’s and Judge Dredd Megazine’s most memorable characters in years. An assassin-come-exorcist for Vatican City in the era of Judge Dredd and Mega-City One, Waugh is a flamboyant, overtly homosexual, side-quipping, ruthless vampire, with a penchant for orgies, fine wines and high culture.
Imagine Terry Thomas on steroids in an x-rated horror Carry On movie and you get the idea of what awaits you.
Waugh has come a long way from when he first appeared in the Megazine twenty odd years ago. All the elements were there back then, but at the time Waugh felt a little underwhelming, needy and, if honest, boring. Since then, writers Rory McConville and Ales Kot have ratcheted up the drama, the campiness, the innuendos and the blood and gore to create something which is filthy, bitchy and utterly possessing. As Waugh at one point rightly announces, “I am filth.” And thank goodness for that!
Blood Debt is a sharp, confident and at times a very funny and daring comic. It gets in the ring with you and gives you a right proper slap around the chops for five rounds. Whereas early Waugh could sometimes test the patience of the reader, McConville and Kot have worked out exactly what he needed to elevate him to something truly fantastic; a no-holds-barred attitude to life, love, sex, death and everything in between.
With dialogue so cutting it must have been written with a diamond nib and action scenes straight out of the Tarantino locker, Blood Debt is like the terrifying uncle who comes to stay, keeps you up all night, gives you your first hangover and teaches you all the bad words; and who you can’t wait to come visit again.
Combined with all this naughty fun, we also have Mike Dowling’ magnificent artwork. An artist whose style reminds me of a modern-day Arthur Ranson, his artwork’s deftness of touch and space allows the witty dialogue the room it needs to breathe.
Blood Debt is a handsome and generous volume of filthy, violent and camp nonsense that deserves a place on any discerning comic book lover’s shelf. The storylines might not be revolutionary in terms of offering something different and new to readers, but the brilliance of the scripts, characters, ideas and ‘Ooh Matron!’ saucy humour, along with wonderful visuals make it a treat regardless. Oh, and did I mention the demon named ‘Titty’ trapped within a giant dildo which Waugh carries around with him? Yes, he is clearly pleased to make your acquaintance, and you’ll be pleased to make his, I’m sure.
Devlin Waugh, Blood Debt
Vatican exorcist, freelance paranormal investigator and altogether dashing rogue, Devlin Waugh is in the business of getting up close and extremely personal with the occult!
This time he’ll have to rescue his debtor brother Freddy from a casino suspended over an unending interdimensional void, save Brit-Cit from a plague of mutagenic nightmare spores, and befriend a possessed demonic dildo, all while negotiating boyfriends ex- and current…
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Tarn Richardson was brought up a fan of fantasy and horror, in a remote house, rumoured to be haunted, near Taunton, Somerset. He is the author of THE DARKEST HAND series, published by Duckworth Overlook in 2015-2017 and republished by RedDoor in 2019. Comprising of THE DAMNED, THE FALLEN, THE RISEN, and free eBook prequel THE HUNTED, the books tell the epic story of Inquisitor Poldek Tacit, battling the forces of evil to the backdrop of World War One. He has also written the novels, RIPPED, and THE VILLAGE IN THE WOODS, to be published in 2020 and 2021. He lives near Salisbury with this wife, the portraiture artist Caroline Richardson, and their two sons.
Official Website www.tarnrichardson.co.uk