Review – Devil Within Vol 1 TP (Black Mask Studios)

Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Artist: Maan House
Colourist: Dee Cunniffe
Lettering: Troy Peteri
Release Date: 26th August 2020

Samantha and Michelle are starting a new life in the Philippines, engaged to be married and looking forward to spending the rest of their lives together. However, their idyllic life is soon disrupted by supernatural events and a mystery that will challenge everything Sam thinks she knows about Michelle.

What feels like a very long time ago, I picked up a preview for the first issue of this series and can remember being very enthusiastic about it, having been a huge fan of Black Mask’s previous output. Unfortunately, and with apologies to the creative team, it completely slipped off my radar shortly thereafter. The upside of this is that it’s been so long since I read the first issue that this has been a whole new experience for me, and getting to read all four issues at once meant that the tension wasn’t interrupted by having to wait a month for the next issue.

A supernatural ghost story, Devil Within is really well written with a dark and tense narrative which draws you straight into the story and sets the hairs on the back of your neck on end pretty much all the way to the final page. Because this series is only four issues long, nothing is wasted in the execution. There’s no lengthy exposition or filler, everything is designed and written to keep you moving towards a really gripping finale, and it’s all executed with a real flair and some genuinely chilling moments.

Maan House’s artwork is superb. I love the dark, gritty style. It really brings the story to life, building the tension throughout and featuring some horrific moments that are truly dark and disturbing. There are also some wonderful designs in this book, the more outré being truly terrifying, particularly during Sam’s dream sequence. I also really enjoyed the atmosphere and the small details that went into some of the scenes; there are mirror images everywhere that even I missed until my second read-through.

As I’ve said above, this is a very tight and well delivered story that genuinely felt at times like I was in one of the better recent Korean Horror movies. There are enough different twists and beats to keep the reader guessing to the end, and the final denouement delivers a twist that I really wasn’t expecting.

While we are very much given a conclusion to the story, I genuinely think that there is scope in this story for both a following chapter and a really good prequel, both of which I would be genuinely delighted to see.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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