Review – Burning Fields #4 (of 8) (BOOM! Studios)

BurningFields_04_A_MainPublisher: BOOM! Studios
Authors: Michael Moreci & Tim Daniel
Artist: Colin Lorimer
Release Date: 29th April, 2015

In my review of issue three of BOOM Studios’ Burning Fields, I described this series as being ‘one giant pressure cooker’. Well, as it turns out, we hadn’t yet begun to cook with pressure, as the creative team ramps up the tension here to near-unbearable levels as Dana and Aban’s investigation leads them deeper and deeper underground, with Decker and the rest of ‘The Verge’ hot on their heels

While the previous chapters of this story have dealt with such delicate themes as Middle Eastern politics, corrupt PMCs and the very nature of faith itself, this issue is very much horror from start to finish, with Moreci and Daniel taking the narrative in a whole new direction as the ‘faintly supernatural’ aspect of the series is now thrust right into our collective faces – with truly chilling results.

Seriously, if there’s an artist better suited for conveying the cramped, claustrophobic horror of this particular issue than Colin Lorimer, I’d be very much surprised. As Dana and Aban – and the Verge themselves – become increasingly disorientated in the smoke and shadow-filled tunnels beneath the Iraqi oilfields, Lorimer cranks up the atmosphere, leaving us every bit as vulnerable as our protagonists as we struggle, straining our eyes to make out the menacing shapes in the shadows. It bears repeating, Lorimer is churning out career-best work here, and seems to have found the perfect outlet for his darkly expressive style.

The series hits the midway point with this issue, a fact that emphasises the benefit provided by the eight-issue format. The creative team have taken advantage of the increased ‘running time’ to let the tension and drama build gradually, allowing each of our main characters develop slowly over time. The end result being that now, as things start to escalate rapidly and the true horror of the situation begins to reveal itself, we’ve already forged a far deeper connection with the characters than we ever would have been able to in a four or five-part series.

As I’ve been saying from the very first issue, this series is absolutely essential reading, and proves itself more than worthy successor to ‘Curse’ – one of my Top 5 comics of 2014 – in terms of both scope and execution. Moreci and Daniel have laid out a sprawling mystery filled with compelling characters and stomach-churning horror, and Lorimer’s grimy visuals help to bring their story to life in visceral, oil-soaked fashion. What are you waiting for?

Rating: 5/5.

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