Review – Something is Killing the Children #1 (BOOM! Studios)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Werther Dell’Edera
Colorist: Miquel Muerto
Letterer: Andworld Design
Release Date: 4th September 2019

James enjoys scaring his friends with frightening stories, like so many of us do. But when he shares one of his particularly traumatic dreams with them during a late night game of Truth or Draw, he has no idea than by the next morning he’ll be the only one of the group left alive.

Welcome to Archer’s Peak, a fairly unremarkable town for all intents and purposes.  That is until the community is rocked by the shocking disappearance of some of its children, who gradually start turning up dead.  James’ friends are the latest on the rapidly growing list, and it seems that a mysterious stranger may be the only person able to shed a little light on what’s happening and slay th monsters responsible.

While he has certainly become something of a “big two” stalwart with spectacular runs on the likes of Detective Comics and Justice League Dark, for my money James Tynion IV is always at his best when he’s playing in a sandbox of his own creation, and that’s exactly what we get here. In spite of the brief outburst of visceral horror near the end, this is actually a fairly understated first issue which succeeds in drawing the reader into the shocking mystery and building an investment in our troubled leading man and the mysterious Erica Slaughter.

Werther Dell-Edera’s artwork is perfect suited from start to finish, with a rough, slightly untidy look that prevents the horror of the story from ever feeling too polished.  The expressions of his characters and the cinematic framing of the scenes really helps to hammer home the drama and tension, and the sequence near the end of the issue where James recounts his experiences in the woods is pure unadulterated nightmare fuel.

There are a lot of different ways the story could potentially go from here, and to be honest, I’m loving the idea of every single one.  For me though, the real test is going to be in the second and third issues of this series.  With horror comics, it’s always easier to grab the audience’s attention with a snappy premise than it is to keep it with a satisfying story, but with Tynion IV and the immensely talented artistic team involved here, I’m wholly confident that this one has more than enough content to stay the course.

With the likes of Faithless and Once & Future already on the books this year, BOOM! Studios are undergoing something of a renaissance in 2019. And based on the strength of this first issue alone, Someone is Killing the Children has the potential to become the best of them all.  Like a tense, terrifying blend of Hack/Slash and Stephen King’s IT, this new series comes highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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You can follow Ceej on Twitter

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