Cursed Pirate Girl: The Devil's Cave #1 is a story unlike anything else on the market and it's one that had me re-reading it a number of times for this review, but also in order to simply take in the brilliant artwork that uses the comics page as a canvass and creates images within the blank space to horrifyingly efficient effect. Following a young girl who is living the life of a pirate and attempting to free her own father, this outing from Boom Studios shows where the publisher excels past some other members of its competition.
To start with, Cursed Pirate Girl's story is a simple enough one, steeped in mythical characters and following a rambunctious swashbuckler attempting to navigate her way to freeing her father. Cursed Pirate Girl is a worthy protagonist, employing the characterization of some of lore's biggest protagonists, feeling as though she were ripped straight from a story penned by Robert Louis Stevenson. Though The Devi's Cave #1 does end on quite the cliffhanger, it's one that makes sense for the story and certainly will have readers dying for the next issue.
There's plenty of characterization out of this to enjoy, as the comic has a rich variety not just from its humor, but from the high-seas faring adventures within. The sheer amount of creatures and originality and detail that is bursting from each page easily make this a contender for one of the year's best issues, even with it being only the start of 2022. As a reviewer myself, I certainly had a good chuckle with the comic beginning by featuring a fish-headed critic disparaging the art and storytelling of Cursed Pirate Girl's earlier adventures.
Needless to say, the biggest draw here is the artwork, with Jeremy A. Bastian working double-time as both the writer and the illustrator. Bastian's art takes a page from the likes of Dosch and M.C. Escher, creating disturbing, complicated scenarios that are so detailed and vast that you can't help but study them for long periods of time. It's in this detail that the story truly sings, feeling like some lost journey that an archaeologist was able to discover from hundreds of years in the past, as if it were lying in wait, not managing to gain the notoriety of Lewis Carrol's Alice In Wonderland.
The Devil's Cave can certainly be confusing when it comes to how the story unfolds, laying out the events of the Cursed Pirate Girl in a structure that many are not accustomed to within a standard paneled comic book, but its experimental nature should be considered a feature and not a bug. It might take a few double takes for a reader to really start following the dialogue, as our brains have been somewhat hardwired on how to consume conversations via word balloons in comic panels, but once you're able to follow along, it makes the experience feel all the more refreshing. I myself wasn't familiar with the story of this wandering scourge of the seven seas, but after reading The Devil's Cave, I'm dying to see what led her to this point and how the artwork by Bastian had progressed over time.
Cursed Pirate Girl: The Devil's Cave is one of the best examples of what can be accomplished in the medium of comics, warping the reality of the page and in doing so, giving readers a series that absolutely demands their attention when reading it. Run, do not walk, when picking up this latest series from Jeremy Bastian at Boom Studios, as this is a fever dream you most certainly want to experience for yourself.
Published By Boom Studios
On January 19, 2022
Written By Jeremy Bastian
Art By Jeremy Bastian
Letters By Jeremy Bastian
Cover By Jeremy Bastian