Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Release Date: 22nd October 2015
The original Colder series from Dark Horse Comics was one of my undeniable comicbook highlights of late 2012 and early 2013; a series whose praises I shouted from the rooftops, waving it in the faces of pretty much everyone I knew and demanding that they give it a look. Well, after an excruciatingly long wait, Colder is back – as an ongoing series, no less! To say I’m excited by the prospect would be a major understatement, but at the same time… we all know how sequels have a tendency to go, don’t we? Law of diminishing returns, and all that. Surely the follow-up couldn’t possibly live up to the original, especially given the dizzyingly high pedestal I’ve put it on? Well, based on what I’ve seen here, Tobin and Ferreyra don’t seem to have missed a beat, managing to recreate the same blend of compelling characters and genuinely unsettling imagery that made the original series such an utterly captivating read.
This first issue opens to find Declan and Reece living together in relative normality. Declan is keeping his temperature under control while still managing to utilise his ‘gift’ for ridding people of insanity, and the pair seem to be very much in love. True, the memory of the trauma they collectively suffered at the hands of Nimble Jack in the previous series still lingers at the back of their minds, but there’s a sense of determination here that they both fully intend to leave these nightmares behind and focus on the rest of their lives together. Show of hands, how many of you think this is actually going to happen? Yeah, didn’t think so.
Enter Swivel, another ghoulish creation from the mind of Tobin brought to life in sickening, stomach-churning detail by the utterly sublime artistic abilities of Ferreyra. Once again the duo work in perfect synergy to ensure that this new threat gets under our skin from the very first glimpse we get of him, injecting his every appearance with a sense of unease. I’m not going to go into too much detail about his ‘activities’, but suffice to say that he gradually develops over the course of this issue from a faintly disturbing presence in the corner of our eye to the stuff of all-consuming, sweat-drenched nightmares. Nimble Jack was quite possibly one of my favourite horror creations of all time, but based on first impressions, I think Swivel may actually be poised to steal that crown. Fingers crossed, anyway. Well… okay… maybe not fingers.
Rather than merely bombarding us with constant disturbing imagery however, this book also does a fantastic job of highlighting the development of Declan and Reece since the previous series, both individually and as a couple. We see Reece introducing Declan to her work colleagues, a genuinely believable exchange which provides some humorous moments that remind us that there’s a lot more to the Eisner Award-winning Tobin than just spine-chilling horror. There’s no point subjecting characters to terrifying events if we don’t actually care about them, after all – something which Tobin is acutely aware of here as he provides an instant sense of relatability to Declan and Reece’s relationship, even if the specifics of their history are a little… well… ‘out there’.
Overall, in spite of my doubts that the original series had set the bar impossibly high, Colder: The Bad Seed effortlessly captures the same sense of creeping dread that made the original such a runaway hit. Ferreyra and Tobin are a partnership that simply cannot put a foot wrong right now, and this issue is a perfect example of two supremely talented creators each playing to their individual strengths. Intriguing and unnerving in equal measures, Colder: The Bad Seed is unlike any other horror comic on the shelves right now, and is absolutely essential reading for any and all horror fans.
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The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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