Review – Rowans Ruin #1 (of 4) (BOOM! Studios)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Mike Carey
Artists: Mike Perkins, Andy Troy
Released: 7th October 2015

Like-as-not, you’ve probably seen Mike Perkin’s work at some point in your comic book perusal, though you may not have realised it, depending on how much attention you pay, and how expansive your reading is. He’s done everything from Thor to Captain America to the new Deathlok series. The same goes for Mike Carey – he’s perhaps one of DC Vertigo’s mainstays, the custodian of Lucifer’s standalone series, as well as a whole host of other continuations and adaptations of Neil Gaiman’s work. They might not be name’s you can immediately bring to mind, but their sheer scale of their talent simply can’t be denied.

And here we have the coalescence of these two monolithic figures in the industry: an almost quaint-sounding foray into the horror comics renaissance. And whilst one can imagine that this is familiar territory for Carey, it’s something of a thrill to see that Perkins is more than up to the challenge as well, given his background in more super-hero orientated fare.

Script-wise, this is almost classic horror fare – the titular ruin is a house that our heroine Katie comes to be present in via a house-swap. Or at least, a house-for-tiny-apartment swap, as her mother insists on pointing out repeatedly. It’s beautifully paced, feeling almost like an episode of Midsomer Murders filtered through a horror lens, as it almost laconically wanders with Katie around the house and surrounding town, interacting with the local colour, and without doubt foreshadowing the potential for horror in subsequent issues. Characters are rather well fleshed out, with wonderfully elegant dialogue combining with the unraveling plot and gorgeous artwork to mount tension rather effectively.

It’s one of those books whose art gets better and better as you go through it – and indeed, don’t let the impression of the first few pages influence what you think the rest of the book will look like. It’s deliberately scratchy – a hazy flash-forward, the reasons for which become clear as you progress through the smoothly paced narrative. Perkins really gets to start flexing his detail and staging muscles in the pages that follow, including a rather cute depiction of a video call on an ever-depleting phone battery that gives you a terrific sense of time and place.

Overall, this does look set to be something of a belter – two titanic British talents coming together to create a deeply engrossing tale of horror. I’ve got a good – or is that bad? – feeling about this.

Rating: 4/5.

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RSavThe Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24

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