Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Zac Thompson
Artist: Andy MacDonald
Colours: Triona Farrell
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane Elhaou
Release Date: 31st March 2021
The livestream of Mylo Caliban’s deconstruction has reached an unbelievably depraved level, and Bramwell Caliban is revelling in the horror. The atrocities he is orchestrating are causing such a global impact that economies are being influenced by this butchery. Anne/Zoe is starting to unravel as the emotional trauma of what she is taking part in splinters her psyche between a mother desperate to be reunited with her daughter and a woman so sickened by what she has done that she argues whether she deserves to be part of her daughter’s life.
Chapter three shows us some of the more outré and sinister aspects of the world that Bramwell has crafted around himself. Yes, there is something even worse than what has already been unfolding in the series. We are introduced to the entities which granted him access to the power to shape this world, and are given an indication of just how far he may be willing to go to achieve his as-yet-hidden final goal. We may also have just been given a glimpse of how badly he has miscalculated his triumph.
The tension and the horror are really starting to ramp up with this issue, and it is exquisite. I have often pondered how great writers coalesce their ideas into the wonderfully crafted gems we get to see on a printed page. I know it is one of the single most hated questions that writers get asked, and honestly, it’s the kind of question that makes my blood run cold in interviews. And as much as this is a question that is always on the tip of my tongue (honestly I’d love to know how to get my own ideas down on paper properly), it’s one I think I’d actually be frightened of asking Zac Thompson, because frankly it’s alarming enough that he can imagine these twisted nightmares, let alone deliberately shape them into something to share with the world.
That being said, what Thompson does deliver here is beautifully crafted, and as something of a connoisseur of horror fiction, it is constantly staggering how easily he can write something that you know is going to be utterly horrifying yet at the same time has a subtle beauty which draws you in and keeps you off-kilter all the way to the end.
The rest of the creative team, MacDonald, Farrell and Otsmane-Elhaou, have taken Thompson’s mad, brilliant world and truly breathed life into it. The artwork is beautiful – admittedly it is mostly nerve-rendingly horrifying, but it is also beautiful. There is an incredible skill in being able to convey beauty in horror and they have managed this with apparent ease. In my review of the first issue I mentioned that there was a certain air of Clive Barker about this story, and this issue really embodies that. The very obvious comparison with the skinless and tortured brother Frank aside, there is a fantastically magical/mythical strangeness that is so typical of his work. The mysterious gathering that Bramwell discovers at the beginning of this issue, could easily have been a meeting described in the pages of Imagica or Weaveworld; or even within the gates of Midian.
I could easily bore you to death about how good I think this series is for hours, I’ve actually had to force myself to not go on and on for another 500+ words about this issue. So I will end it here by simply saying that what was already a stellar series is just getting better and better, and if you aren’t already on board then you really need to be.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek