Publisher: Image Comics (Shadowline Imprint)
Writer: Colin Lorimer
Artist(s): Colin Lorimer, Joana Lafuente
Release Date: 20th July, 2016
The Hunt is a new title from creator Colin Lorimer, best known for his work on Harvest. This is a horror story based on Irish mythology, specifically The Slaugh (pronounced S-L-U-A). These are spirits of the dead, spirits so evil they’ve been rejected access to the afterlife by all the Celtic Gods and doomed to haunt the earth stealing the souls of the dead. The story follows a young girl, Orlaigh (Orla for short), who witnesses The Slaugh steal the soul of her father on his deathbed and is forever changed by it. Mocked mercilessly as she grows up for being different, she decides years later to look for the soul of her father whom she believes is trapped in the Netherworld.
Being of Irish/Scots descent and remembering my drunken Grandmother swearing to God Almighty that she’d seen The Banshee when she was younger I couldn’t resist the chance to review this. Lorimer has promised some fill-your-boots horror, and Irish Mythology is as creative and as full of wonder as Roald Dahl would be if he’d ingested The Blarney Stone. That being said this issue isn’t quite as attention grabbing as I’d have hoped.
The story is sound enough, although it perhaps doesn’t flow as freely as I feel it should. Being familiar with how the Irish speak I still found the narrative a little bit of hard work on first pass-through. I can imagine a US audience finding it difficult, and for people that don’t have English as their first language, well, let’s just say it’ll be tough (but not impossible). My main gripe is that the narrative didn’t slot together nicely. Don’t get me wrong, all the plot points are there but it doesn’t seem to read as a cohesive whole.
I think this may in part be due to the art. Now, don’t get me wrong, the art of the issue is seriously good. The frames are chock full of detail and the extreme close ups give a sense of distress and anxiety. I really love this type of vectored drawing where the distinction between vectored lines and freehand lines are blurred. The double page spread where we first witness The Slaugh is an absolute treat, and it holds promise for some delicious horror-inspired art for this series in future.
Where I do think that it trips up is in the use of colours. Overall the minimal use of colour and the darker pallet is wonderful, but the transitions are not easy to mark, and the palette change is too slight in some of them and the only pre-cursor is a square dialogue box. As a visual cue, I don’t think it’s enough of an emphasis for your brain to change gears. It is literal equivalence of stalling a car and you need to stop (and start) reading again, and this is where it fails for me.
The Hunt is an interesting one for sure. For me, issue one is a bit of a ying-yang affair with some very strong elements – backstory and art – mixed in with a few black balls – some of the dialogue and transitions. Basing a story on Irish mythology is a genius idea and the potential is exciting, and when you add to this the fact that this story is coming out of Shadowline Studios, an Image imprint that has been churning out quality work of late, I’ll happily file this under ‘developing’ and eagerly await the next issue.
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The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.