Devastating Roulette is a collection of short stories written by Derek Adnams with a variety of artists contributing to the various stories. The stories are an interesting mixture of sci-fi, fantasy, humor, sorrow, and adventure. Not all of them are hits but there are some that are amazing and if you are a fan of indie comics you will definitely find something to like here.
The best story in the novel in my opinion is “The Downsizing of Quentin Mykroh”. It tells the story of an Atom like superhero who is being forced to retire from his superhero team because of his age and resistance to change. It is a heartbreaking story as you see this man reflect on his life and all the amazing things he has done with his allies but he now knows he will no longer have it. It takes a life event that most people deal with it and put it into a fantastical setting showing us a side of our fantasy that we probably never talk about. The artwork by Garry Price is also strong and helps tell the story contrasting the depression the character is feeling in his life now with his bright past as a superhero.
The other standout for me is a one page story called “The Man in the Gray Fire Suit”. It’s a very simple concept and really it’s more of a joke than a story but it is very clever. I don’t want to ruin it for people but if you are a fan of supernatural or religious stories like Hellblazer, you will probably enjoy this story as much as I did.
The first story “He” is also really good and a standout. It involves some sort of alien who has been sent back in time to the age of the Dinosaurs on Earth. The art by Brandon Bullock is thrilling and he has a sense of action that could be storyboards for an action movie. The colors by Justin Wood are also bold and fit the weird sci-fi tone of the story.
The story “Furher’s Dagger” is good but seems out-of-place in this anthology. It seems to be a parody of Scooby Doo and The Hardy Boys but also involves a soldier who helps the boys in the story facing off against the ghost of a World War II German soldier. It has a little more of a cartoony feel than the other stories, although there is a twist at the end that tries to add more emotion into the story it feels out-of-place in the world the story has set up leaving it feeling schizophrenic and unsure of what it wants to be. It is not a horrible story it just needs more focus.
The rest of the stories are ones that just did not speak to me. “Beggared Uberhaupt”, left me confused and I still do not fully understand it. I think I get the basic gist of it but not enough to say I have a full grasp of the content. That said the art by Adam Bryce Thomas is beautiful and I love the watercolor look of it. “Life’s Work” which comes off as melodramatic and is another one that does not seem to fit in this anthology as it is more of a straightforward dramatic story and does not have any fantastical elements. Finally there are two one page stories “Inner Child” and “The Wait” which don’t have the clever hook of “Grey Fire Suit” and while there is nothing inherently wrong with them but I did not find them as memorable or clever as the “Suit” story.
If you are a fan of indie comics especially fantasy ones I would recommend picking up Devastating Roulette. You probably will not love everything in it, like me, but there is probably something in there that will move you and make you think about genre and life.
If you have read Devastating Roulette Vol. 1 what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below or on twitter if you are interested in picking up Devastating Roulette you can do so here.