Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art & Colours: Szymon Kudranski
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Release Date: 9th December 2020 (ComiXology)
A delectable offering of body horror from one of my favourite publishers, just in time to deliver a welcome distraction from all the hullaballoo of the festive period? Why yes, don’t mind if I do.
Cullen Bunn is a writer who doesn’t need much of an introduction these days and I’d consider him a pretty safe bet for an enjoyable read. That said, there’s a danger of falling into a bit of complacency. You get to know your favourite authors over the years, and whilst the stories are always engaging, perhaps we struggle to admit they can become a tad formulaic. Was that going to be the case here? I’d like to think not.
Its 1989 and we have a group of kids on the brink of adulthood. College looms for some of this bunch of rag-tag misfits, and whether they want it or not, the future heralds change and most likely the same straining of friendships we’ve all endured leaving school. Despite this, there’s time for one last hang out in the creepy old house in town. That old decrepit building which should have been torn down years ago. The one with boarded up windows and overgrown, browning garden that screams cliché. It’s all too familiar, harking back to so many other ghost stories that I had my doubts about where this was heading. The discovery of the brain in the jar could have fallen foul of the hammy route, but instead I found myself drawn into the tale and genuinely encountered that tingling of suspense as I turned each page.
Bunn’s well-crafted story, equally well presented with the talents of letterer Marshall Dillon, is brought to life by some fantastic art throughout. I did have a little quibble with the portrayal of the group at the start as I couldn’t envisage them all being of a similar age. That quickly settled though, and I gave this minor personal irk a pass given the casting in many of my favourite horror movies… The limited colour palate gives off an almost noir-ish vibe which allows Kudranski to really hammer home those panels or pinks and reds. The detailing is great, and I found myself reading with increasing speed to devour this and pretty much straight away went back for seconds. Further helpings offered up little titbits I had missed before so my advice would be to try and slow yourself to savour what’s on offer here.
I’m a big fan of the short OGN format and Aftershock have hit on a great format which I hope continues long into the future. Self-contained stories that you can pick up and enjoy over a coffee or a bus journey. Piecemeal delivers big time. What starts out feeling like a safe bet horror story turns the concept on its head to smack you with schlocky B-Movie brilliance. The crescendo of violence and weird occurrences leads to a fitting ending that dangles doubt in the reader’s mind. Well worth picking up.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster