Advance Review – The Girl In The Bay #1 (Dark Horse)

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics (Berger Books Imprint)
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Corin Howell
Colours: James Devlin
Lettering: Clem Robins
Release Date: 6th February 2019

Set to hit shelves in early February, The Girl In The Bay takes us back to 1969 to tell the story of Kathy Sartori, a teenage girl who is brutally attacked and dumped into Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay. Somehow Kathy is able to survive her ordeal, only to discover that fifty years have passed and, somewhat terrifyingly, an exact copy of her appears to have lived out her entire life in her place.

As elevator pitches go, this is a strong one right from the get-go. Couple that with a creative team that includes acclaimed Spider-Man and Justice League writer J.M. DeMatteis and rising star Transformers and Ghostbusters artist Corin Howell and you have all the ingredients for what promises to be another stellar addition to Dark Horse Comics’ “Berger Books” imprint.

Thankfully this first issue doesn’t disappoint, gently introducing us to Kathy in all her rebellious “wild child” glory before chronicling the shocking brutality of her untimely demise and putting us right beside her as she gradually discovers what exactly happened during the past fifty years. DeMatteis clearly isn’t in a rush here, which makes the sudden moments of violence or shock all the more powerful, and Kathy’s inner monologue flows smoothly and eloquently throughout.

On the visual side of things, Howell definitely holds up her end of the bargain, delivering an expressive leading lady and adding a slick, cinematic feel to the more dramatic beats of the story. It’s a great looking first issue with some inventive layouts and eye-catching visual moments. James Devlin provides the colours here, using haunting ethereal greens to underscore the more supernatural aspects of the story and showing a deft hand of his own in helping to nail the key the moments of the story – the moment with the stranger on the bridge in particular – with real gusto.

This first issue follows a lot of familiar tropes, but does so with a gentleness and confidence that prevents it from ever feeling clichéd or derivative. And, at the end of the day, if the intention of an opening issue is to make you care about the leading character and want to find out what happens next, then The Girl In The Bay succeeds on both counts. A slick, emotive story that deftly treads the line between drama and horror, this is an easy new series to recommend.

Rating: 4/5.

ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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