Publisher: DC (Hill House Comics Imprint)
Writer: Joe Hill
Colours: Dave Stewart
Lettering: Deron Bennett
Release Date: 18th December 2019
Cursed axe? Check! Severed head? Check! Basket to put head in? Check!
June has had a rough night, her boyfriend is missing (well most of him is), she has been hunted and attacked, and she’s decapitated a man. Oh, and the severed head of her assailant is talking to her…
I have to say, Hill House is absolutely knocking it out of the park at the moment. Between this series and The Dollhouse Family, it feels like they’re set to conquer the horror genre over the next year, and would be my shoe-in to become the next Vertigo if they continue like this.
I’ve spoken previously about the links to the worlds that Stephen King and Joe Hill have built, which is something that really helps draw you into the story, with a feeling of familiarity that is very satisfying. What also works really well is the fact that this is a story that is in no hurry to get anywhere. Nothing is rushed, and the plot progresses at a steady, purposeful pace, like the footfall of Jason Voorhees stalking a camp counsellor. What this also means of course is that when something does happen, it feels like the fall of an axe; fast, brutal, and just bloody fantastic.
In my review of the first issue I commented on how capable June appeared, and so far she hasn’t let us down. In the face of everything that has happened, she has been pragmatic, practical and absolutely the antithesis of your typical blonde female in horror. Not once has she run up the stairs when she should be going out the door, not once has she gone into the cellar, she quickly solved the question of whether she was dreaming in a very practical way, and she and hasn’t wasted any more time questioning reality, or crying in the rain, or waiting to be rescued. She’s Adrienne Barbeau and Jamie Lee Curtis rolled into one, and she’s spectacular!
Of course, June will have to face more than her share of adversity as the story continues and her resolve will be pushed further than any reasonable person can be expected to endure. Fingers crossed she stays this strong and kicks some serious ass on the way. I also have to say, the revelations about Liam being less than the wholesome boy next door we first saw are going to make for some interesting exchanges if June manages to get him back without him losing any more appendages.
Moving on to the artwork (oh, the artwork!), it’s safe to say that I fell in love with the art in this book from the first page of the issue. The contemporary EC feel, the retro watercolour style, the echoes of the comic adaptation of Creepshow, everything feels authentically 1980s, and it hits every note perfectly for me. Leomacs has, in my humble opinion, not only captured the soul of Joe Hill’s story perfectly, but has also managed to capture how I always imagined Stephen King’s worlds of Maine, Shawshank, etc. beautifully.
If Leomacs and Hill can keep this quality up, and the rest of the creators at Hill House Comics continue to do the same, I’m confident that it won’t be long before they conquer the entire horror comic book world!
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek