Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Damian Couceiro
Colours: Patricio Delpeche
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Release Date: 14th July 2021
Vanessa’s life is a car wreck, both literally and figuratively. Her mother has just died of cancer and her boyfriend is cheating on her with her own sister. Deciding to take the road trip of a lifetime, Vanessa’s plans of an idyllic journey of adventure are quickly shattered when a mysterious phenomenon leaves her lying on the road next to the wreck of her own burning car. And just when she thinks things couldn’t get any worse, she discovers that the world she has woken up in is full of fantastical and nightmarish creatures.
This is an absolutely superb first issue. No caveats, no ifs, and or buts, I had an absolute blast! As you’ve probably guessed by now, I have a thing for all things horror, and this looks like it’s going to be a great horror series. There are a lot of moments reminiscent of Lovecraft and Stephen King, there are dark and horrific scenes more suited to a fantasy tale that work really well, and this is a story that doesn’t mess about, throwing the reader straight into the action and the horror.
Vanessa immediately comes across as a kick-ass, take no shit protagonist with a suitably dark and irreverent sense of humour. I feel inclined to make huge sweeping comparisons to ’80s and early ’90s horror movies, but I think that this would be a bit lazy and honestly, I think this is better than that. Ed Brisson has managed, for me at least, to provide all the things I love about that era of horror while producing something that is instantly engaging and scary and fun. A lot of the horror that I read isn’t what you’d immediately think of as fun, I tend to read a lot of books that are very, very dark and disturbing, and it’s a nice change of pace to read a horror story that manages to tick all the boxes and be fun without being silly!
Damian Couceiro and Patricio Delpeche do a fantastic job on the artwork. Keeping the story in the real world and introducing the monsters into it rather than transporting Vanessa and the others into a world of fantasy was a smart move and it works really well in making the horror feel more real and threatening. For me, there’s always something far scarier about monsters that could actually come out of the darkness and eat you than the ones you find in fantasy or demonic realms.
I also love the forest setting for this issue. It sort of put me in mind of one of my favourite console games “Alan Wake”, as it’s a location that provides plenty of opportunity to bring depth, shadow, and hidden lurking menace. The creature design is really good too. It’s very Lovecraftian, and similar to creatures you may see in Stephen King’s The Mist, the recent adaptation of Lovecraft Country, or Jacen Burrows’ creations in Alan Moore’s Providence.
This is a great first issue. It has horror, action, humour and a great creative team behind it. It’s on my pull list and I think it’s well worth putting on yours too.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek