Review – Human Remains #1 (Vault Comics)

Publisher: Vault Comics
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Sally Cantirino
Colourist: Dearbhla Kelly
Lettering: Andworld Lettering
Release Date: 29th September 2021

They came. They came and the world changed! When rifts in the fabric of space and time started appearing across the world, humanity soon discovered that ravenous, murderous creatures would follow in their wake; monsters drawn to strong emotional responses that will shred and devour anyone they find. Now humanity must find a way to survive long enough to find a way to fight back.

This is a tale very much in the same mould as recent movies such as A Quiet Place and Bird Box. A story that is not just a great monster/creature feature concept, but also delves into the debilitating effects on the human psyche brought about by living in a perpetual emotional siege, bottling up all the emotions that would normally spill out during the course of a regular day.

The first issue really took me by surprise which, with this being a Vault title and a Peter Milligan story, it really shouldn’t have done. The combination of straight-up creature feature and quite on the nose social commentary echoing the imposed restrictions of COVID – not to mention the reactions of various groups to it – creates a deceptively intelligent story that is helped along magnificently by some shockingly explosive and brutal scenes and some almost Lovecraftian beasties descending on Earth for an all-you-can-eat buffet. I don’t want to spoil the story for you, but there are some really great moments in this issue that I’d love to talk about in more depth, and maybe I will once you’ve all had chance to read the issue and we’re talking about issue two.

One thing I do have to mention is that one particular theme that is touched on in this story really hit home as a parent – namely, the way children are affected by the “invasion”. The restrictions, the isolation, the suppression of their basic instincts in what should be the most magical time of their lives. It mirrors the price our children have had to pay over the last two years, and as much as this has been a hard time for everyone, it’s the children who have, to me at least, suffered the most.

I could quite easily turn this topic into a soapbox rant about the selfish shortsightedness of the “my civil rights” brigade prolonging this nightmare, but this isn’t the time or place.

Sally Cantirino and Dearbhla Kelly’s artwork is really good throughout, setting out a believable world populated by believable characters, but which is beset by a horror that is so outlandishly over the top that it’s just fabulous! There should also be an award for a single panel in this issue that delivers one of the most withering looks I’ve seen in the comic book format in a long, long time.

This issue was handed to me as a wild card by my editor this week, and I’m so glad he did. I’ve really enjoyed this first issue, and I’m looking forward to reading the coming issues.

Rating 3.5/5.


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

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