Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Rich Douek
Artist: Alex Cormack
Letters: Justin Birch
Release Date: 26th June 2019
Roman, Sergei and Grigori have spent weeks on the run, battling through one of the most hostile landscapes on Earth. With food supplies dwindling, their only hope of survival is reaching a remote hunter’s lodge that Grigori heard of from another inmate of the Gulag. As the days drag on, Sergei and Grigori become more evasive as Roman questions their destination and whether their supplies will last, and Roman begins to suspect the most horrific treachery.
I am about to embark on a review which I will do my best to keep down to about 400 words. However, if you’re the impatient type, you can easily save yourself 5 minutes and just go and buy this book. Or… keep reading and I will tell you exactly why you should just go out and buy this book.
I’m absolutely hooked on this series. I was from the first page of the first issue but this latest chapter is just chilling. If you’ve read the first issue you will have an inkling of how this and the forthcoming issues may play out but this latest instalment in particular is one long, slow, agonising, slope towards hell.
If you’re anything like me then you regularly shout at your TV things like “No, don’t go into the woods”, “Ok, well don’t go into the creepy cabin….”, “Ok, well definitely don’t go into the creepy cellar…”, “Aw crap, he/she went into the cellar…” I spent a significant amount of this issue shouting similar things at the pages of this book. That is, when I wasn’t holding my breath. Rich Douek’s pace and timing in his storytelling is perfect, delivering page after page of a gripping isolation thriller that will leave your nerves raw and bloodied at the end of each issue.
The artwork is just… well, let me put it this way, at this point if Alex Cormack scribbled something on a sheet of toilet paper, I’d pay good money for it. I’ve spent a significant part of my life in the mountains and I had quite a visceral reaction to some of the panels in this issue. It’s difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t been a mountaineer just how claustrophobic it can actually be despite the vast scale of the landscape you’re traversing, but Alex captures it perfectly.
I love the characters that Alex draws. I have yet to see him come up with a character that wasn’t fascinatingly ugly in even some small way. Each character has something that just grabs your attention and doesn’t let go. I’ve already got some of Alex Cormack’s artwork hanging on my walls already and I can tell you now that I’d hang any of these pages on my wall in a heartbeat!
So, congratulations for sticking with me to the end, and the point where I tell you again to just go out there and buy this book. Survival horror, chilling thriller, superbly tense writing, artwork from one of the best comic book illustrators working at the moment… hell, you can pick your own reason for buying this book so long as you make sure you get out there and buy it!
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek