Advance Review – I Breathed A Body #1 (AfterShock Comics)

Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Zac Thompson
Artist: Andy MacDonald
Colourist: Triona Farrell
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Release Date: 20th January 2021

Set for release later this month, I Breathed a Body is a supernatural horror story set in an alternative future where social media influencers are taken to the extreme. When the ultimate influencer and prankster Milo Caliban posts an unspeakably horrific video, it is up to his social media manager, Anne Stewart, to capitalise on Milo’s insane actions while at the same time mitigating the fallout that could impact his revenue stream.

Full disclosure, I have had the great good fortune to have read the first two issues of this series, but will do my very best to not let that advance knowledge colour my review of this first issue or to stray too far into spoiler territory.

This isn’t the first foray that Zac Thompson has made into dissecting and deconstructing the pervasive influence that Social Media and the influencers who inhabit it have on our daily lives. I was a very vocal advocate of Come Into Me, which touches on similar themes but whereas that book was steeped in the influences of David Cronenberg and David Lynch, this series feels much more like something that would inhabit the worlds of Clive Barker or Thomas Ligotti. The satisfyingly horrific and stomach churning body horror is still very much to be found within the pages of this book, but there is much more of the otherworldly (dare I even say Lovecraftian?) in this story.

Whilst I am as guilty as the next man of fuelling the beasts that make up the social media monsters of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, Thompson’s tales of horror make me increasingly uncomfortable about the level of interactions I have in cyberspace, and how much my interactions and reactions are being influenced by others. Over the last year or so I have spent a huge amount of time fact checking, blocking, and suppressing the urge to commit murder by keyboard as I attempt to hold sane, normal conversations with, and support a myriad of creators out there in the wild. It is increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, and once again Thompson highlights just how driven and focused those people who make money from our reactions really are.

Social commentary aside, this is a great horror story which has some explosive “holy shit” moments alongside a deliciously subtle and insidious plot that gets under your skin and sets your nerves on end as you realise that this is going to build to something truly, uncomfortably, stomach churningly horrifying as the story progresses.

Andy MacDonald’s artwork is superb, with an opening scene that is wonderfully horrific and legitimately disturbing. This is a scene that visually could have come from the time that Lovecraft was writing. It has that decaying, alien fungoid, cultist feel to it, which is in stark contrast to the much cleaner, crisper, futuristic setting of Milo Caliban and his cult-like followers. I really like the contrast MacDonald brings between what we would consider “normal”, and the normal of our protagonists’ world (such as a simple meal between colleagues with a menu that manages to make you feel uncomfortable enough to make your flesh crawl, but not uncomfortable enough to make you leave the room), I especially enjoyed some of the textures and subtle horrors he produces here, which keep you just off-kilter enough to ensure that you don’t relax for a moment.

I have to be 100% honest that at the end of the first issue I have absolutely no idea where Thompson is taking us on this nightmare fuelled ride, but honestly, I don’t care at this point because I am absolutely and irrevocably hooked. This is not a new thing for me, Zac Thompson has a fantastic ability to give the reader just enough in delivering a first issue that gives nothing away, but guarantees that you will pick up the second one without thinking twice. And trust me, you’re definitely going to want to pick up the second issue of this one!

Rating: 5/5.


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

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