Publisher: Deadbolt Comics
Writer: Thomas J. Campbell
Artwork: Wayne Lowden
Colours: Trilby Black
Logo & Lettering: Ken Reynolds
Available to buy digitally on Buy Small Press and to Stream on the Comichaus App and Globalcomix.
Brother and Sister continue their journey together, reaching the coast. There, they witness a young girl being dragged away by followers of the Cult of Dagon, and when they eventually reach Camilla’s house to find it empty, trashed, and covered with occult symbols, they are left with a clear path towards more danger in the hope of finding Camilla and the missing girl.
Where the first issue of Abyssal Albion was a claustrophobic folk horror tale in the Lovecraftian vein, this issue has a lighter tone (as much as you can have a lighter tone in Lovecraftian horror). The world that Brother and Sister are traversing is one of post-apocalyptic devastation, and the temple of the Cult of Dagon is suitably horrifying, but there are moments of humour in this issue that, while I wasn’t expecting them, really worked for me.
The cultists themselves are a mixture of biker gang and 1970s skin head, and the “creature” design is reminiscent of the biker demons in An American Werewolf In London that used to give me nightmares as a kid. There is however a humorous side to how we see them, almost in a Terry Pratchett style.
I enjoyed the lighter moments in this issue, don’t get me wrong. I’m all about cosmic horror and insidious, creeping dread and suffocating paranoia, but without these moments of levity, we would lose the humanity of the protagonists, and I think that the story would fail as a result. Yes, this is a story immersed in the Lovecraftian Mythos, but it is an epic adventure through a landscape sculpted from the rise of the old ones, rather than the claustrophobic nightmare of insanity we typically see narrated by one lost and tortured soul. Because of this, there need to be breaks in the tension, or we’d quickly become fatigued by the onslaught of relentless horror and bleakness.
Levity aside, there are some suitably Lovecraftian moments for the diehard fan, and some genuine moments of peril for Brother & Sister, that remind us that this is a horror title. There’s a lot more I’d like to talk to you about regarding the story in this issue but I genuinely can’t without ending up giving you a page by page dissection.
Keeping with the black and white artwork of the previous issue, I really like Wayne Lowden’s work on this series. The first page almost has the feel of Mike Mignola to it in the way it’s presented, but also reminds me of the artwork from British comics the early 80’s such as Alan Grant’s work in Eagle, particularly the scene where Brother & Sister enter the temple of Dagon. I love the “old style” heavy line work, it’s what I grew up with and while there are many other styles that I also love, this one is a style that is full of nostalgia for me and this really helped me to get into the story in issue 1, and made issue 2 so much easier to get back into the narrative.
This series has seen two successful Kickstarter campaigns, and is available to buy at buysmallpress.com. I’ve been very vocal about supporting both campaigns, but if you missed them I’d really recommend picking them up.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek