Deal With The Devil Review - Walk by Faith, Not by Sight
Updated: Jun 29
• Mike S. Miller (Writer) • Sherwin Schwartzrock (Pencils)
Deal with the Devil was included in Mike S. Millers Indiegogo campaign that ended towards the end of 2018. I received the book last month along with The Meg, based on the hit film and Six Gun Samurai. The Meg was the obvious draw of the campaign, but having two additional graphic novels included in the package was too good to pass up.
Before getting into the review I wanted to commend Mike for the campaign. Each graphic novel is substantial. Deal with the Devil is easily over 100 pages. The other books have a similar page count. The books also came signed with the addition of a signed trading card. It's a small thing but taken as a whole, the campaign was a great value proposition. I have no reservations about backing it.
DWTD follows Agent Goodwin, one of the F.B.I's finest. He's an elderly man of faith who uses the mantra "walk by faith, not by sight" to solve crimes with great effect. Goodwin manages to track down a particularly dangerous serial killer but fails. The killer gets the drop on him and he suffers a catastrophic injury. Following the encounter, Goodwin loses his leg, his career, and his faith. The situation seems bleak for our lead until he's pulled back into action by a very unlikely source.
DWTD has a really strong narrative that serves up an interesting murder mystery. It also illustrates that even with a massive setback, one can find a way to go on. Due to the nature of the mystery, I won't get deep into plot details. I will say that the twists and reveals throughout the comic are creative and by the time the book ends the conclusion feels earned.
I also appreciated the book having an older protagonist. Most books keep the lead squarely in their prime. Agent Goodwin's prime was probably about 15-20 years ago. He's not useless though. Even after being further diminished by injuries he still has the best chance at cracking this case. The body may be weary but the mind's still sharp. I kept imagining Joe Pesci or Bob Haskins in the role if this was a film. Neither would be a conventional choice for a story like this, but I think they would work thematically.
I don't have any story complaints. I do have some issues with the art direction. I think that the color palette is a bit dull and could use more variety. The inks are also pretty heavy and dark. That combination makes the comic look the same throughout no matter what's happening on the page. It doesn't diminish the story but the lack of variety in colors makes the linework come off as bland even when dynamic action is taking place. The "Oh Shit" moments from DWTD come primarily from the plot twists or reveals and typically not from a splash page or slick pencils.
It took me a while to back the campaign, but I'm glad I took the plunge and I'm excited to dig into the other two titles in the bundle. This was an excellent reading experience. If you're a fan of mystery or suspense titles I'd recommend checking out the book. I'm not sure if Mike will ever reopen the campaign, but if he does be sure to jump on it.