Review – Hoax Hunters #1 (Heavy Metal)

Untitled - CopyPublisher: Heavy Metal
Writer(s): Michael Moreci, Steve Seeley
Artist: Chris Dibari
Release Date: 1st April, 2015

The long-awaited return of Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley’s Hoax Hunters seems – on paper at least – to be the perfect choice as the first ever monthly comic to be published under the banner of the iconic Heavy Metal magazine. With Heavy Metal’s love of dark fantasy, the exploits of Regan, Donovan, Lauren, Murder and Ken Cadaver as they travel the world with their Reality TV show, debunking the supernatural (or, as it happens, covering up the horrible truth) should be an ideal fit for the gritty, edgy style that the magazine has established over the years. What we have here is the first instalment of a five issue mini-series – season two, if you will – and a deft reintroduction to a group we haven’t seen in around fourteen months.

With the Hunters’ previous leader Jack missing in action, Moreci and Seeley take some time to establish the new dynamic within the team, in particular the thinly veiled ill feeling for new ‘boss’ Donovan. In an attempt to bring the team together, Donovan arranges for them to tackle what should be a fairly straightforward job – but which, with shocking inevitability, turns out to be anything but. We also touch base with a few of the other characters from season one, with some appearances here that should make longtime fans more than happy.

Chris Dibari takes over the art duties for season two, effortlessly matching the established Heavy Metal aesthetic with his grimy, pulp horror style. This first issue is significantly darker than many of the previous Image Comics Hoax Hunter issues, and the scenes in the Parisian catacombs in particular are brilliantly rendered, with flickering torches illuminating hidden horrors as the team’s investigation takes them deeper and deeper underground. As a jumping-on point, this is as good a time as any, with a fresh start and a brand new dynamic for first-time readers to sink their teeth into. Thankfully, Moreci and Seeley don’t waste too much time on exposition and introductions here, and have instead put together a handy a little recap package, highlighting the events of season one and throwing in character bios and a preview of this very issue. To check it out, CLICK HERE.

Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll no doubt say it again – but 2015 is rapidly shaping up to be the ‘Year of Moreci’, with this latest offering joining the likes of Roche Limit and Burning Fields in the man’s impressively growing arsenal of top quality output. Once again blending unnerving horror with strong characters and an always progressing story, his reunion with Seeley works perfectly in capturing the same vibe that made the original series the sleeper hit it was. In fact, they may actually have improved upon the Image Comics version here, providing a gritty, tense reimagining of the franchise while still retaining the charm of the original. Existing fans are going to be over the moon, and new readers may just have found one of their new favourite series’.

Oh, and it’s also worth mentioning – even though it doesn’t necessarily have much of a bearing on the issue’s contents – but Rob Prior’s painted cover for this issue is absolutely stunning. Seriously, just look at it. Wowza.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Rating: 4/5.

576682_510764502303144_947146289_nThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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