Comic Book Review: Sundowners #1
Tim Seeley’s newest Dark Horse creation Sundowners explores the validity and possible insanity of superheroes.
Sundowner syndrome is a real condition that plagues those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, causing them to panic and often participate in dangerous behavior when the sun sets. In Tim Seeley’s new creator-owned series Sundowners, supeheroes might be losing their minds during the evening hours. Meeting in a sundowner specific support group, our main characters discuss their recent nocturnal melees with Dr. Shrejic, an ego-maniac who believes each convalescent is delusional in their own way. While each group member describes a different experience, the one constant is that they all seem to see the same nebulous figures lurking in their fringes. Each hero has their own niche, as with any super group: there’s a go-go dancer and drug addict who hates people but can’t stop herself from helping them; an elderly man who has clear visions of his past fighting various evil entities, but due to a stroke can’t seem to communicate with his group; a bible-thumping cheerleader type who needs to sin in order to gain her power; a Phoenix Jones-style vigilante who has paranoid visions about ever-present conspiracies. Is this culminating with the possible introduction of their origin story as a super group? Or maybe it’s just a chronicle of a pack of kooks that want to feel important and will delude themselves with grandeur to have it?
Tim Seeley is known in the community as an “artist who writes,” which seems bizarre to me due to his success in creating and writing some of the industry’s more popular recent titles. Both Revival and Hack/Slash are beautiful noirs with supernatural twists, and with Sundowners Seeley appears to be on a similar ride. Perhaps with the success of Sundowners, he may finally be considered a “writer who also draws.” He does a terrific job of setting up the story while simultaneously creating questions readers desperately want answered. There’s a creative ambiguity here as characters come off as both bat-shit crazy and wildly misunderstood. I felt a familiar ease in the use of the group therapy setting because this very much reads like a Chuck Palahniuk story. Seeley creates a perspective for each “hero” that delves deeper into the psyche than most of us might even prefer to go.
There are glimpses of inconsistency that had me wringing my hands in confusion and frustration, but in a sweet and tasty way. I almost wanted these stories to be truth as each flawed personality described with deep sincerity what they are capable of. I want them to posses these fantastical powers they so firmly believe they have, but at times it seems utterly impossible and unlikely. Jim Terry’s art succeeds in advancing the plot at an ideal pace, creating urgency when needed then relaxing a bit during moments of necessary clarity. Terry also has an alluringly gritty style that lends itself to the similarly gritty mindset of our patients. Additionally, colorist Sean Dove creates pallets specific to each individual character, giving them their own distinct look and “team colors.”
In a selfie-obsessed culture, where we are all striving to be special, Sundowners introduces a creative discussion into what we believe about ourselves and what is in fact our truth. Maybe we are all unique, remarkably existing in a world where we want to be recognized for our own special gifts. Or maybe we are all just fucking insane. Pick up Sundowners # 1 and # 2 now–before the sun sets.