Publisher: Vault Comics
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Sally Cantirino
Colours: Dearbhla Kelly
Letterer: Andworld Design
Release Date: 21st April 2021
Jacey’s childhood was not normal or healthy. Her father is an inhuman monster, ‘The Important Man” has stolen her brother and now she wants revenge. Travelling the country with her companion David, a man who is also sometimes a ravening beast straight out of the depths of a folk horror story, Jacey is searching out other men who prey on the defenceless and innocent, circling ever closer to the mysterious man that took her brother.
Right from the very first issue, I Walk With Monsters is disturbing. It’s Josh Simmons level disturbing, and I really wasn’t expecting this from a Vault title. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read some great horror stories from Vault, but this one actually made my flesh crawl in places and for that, I’m hugely impressed. There’s something in the way the story is delivered that reminded me of the work of Charles Forsman, John Lees’ And Then Emily Was Gone, or Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth, and there even moments that reminded me of Cullen Bunn’s Harrow County.
The subject matter of this story is supposed to make you feel uncomfortable, but it is leavened by a the satisfyingly brutal demise of the predators that Jacey and David are hunting. This should be a really bleak story. It’s emotionally devastating in places and it’s heartbreaking watching what happens to Jacey and her brother. However, there is also hope and purpose in Jacey’s story, and while you can see the evidence of her abuse in her eyes, it’s equally evident in the hard, matter-of-fact shell she presents to the world. It’s clear that although she doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge it yet, there is friendship, and love without condition in her life if she’d just stop and look. There’s also a sense of humour in this story, albeit a little dark at times, which just serves to round off David and Jacey as utterly believable characters.
I like the artwork a lot in this series. As I mentioned earlier, I was reminded of Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth, and some of Tyler Crook’s character work on Harrow County, but there’s also something nicely of itself in this artwork. It’s not derivative of anyone that you could immediately identify, but it does have a (for lack of a better word) comfortable feel to it, and I think it’s a style that conveys a lot of feeling and emotion without becoming too harsh. It’s also a style that invites a closeness to the characters, and makes it easier to become invested in them.
I’m really enjoying this series so far. It’s heart-breaking, it’s uplifting, it’s brutal, it’s funny and it’s everything you’d expect from Vault Comics.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek