Review – I Hate This Place #1 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Creator/Writer: Kyle Starks
Creator/Artist: Artyom Topilin
Colours: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Release Date: 18th May 2022

Co-creator and writer, Kyle Starks, describes how this came about from the need to write a horror story. Not just any horror story confined to one sub-genre. No, a horror story that could bash and crash its way through everything from folkloric monsters to slashers, lonely, haunted houses to visitors from out of time and space. A complicated recipe to be sure.

Despite how easily this smorgasbord of ideas and themes could have turned sour, I was surprised that these disparate concepts were woven together so well in this debut issue. It’s never great to try and draw comparisons but there’s elements here that remind me of the American Horror Story series. If one embraces this conceit, it’s easier to bob along on the suspension of disbelief.

Gabby and Trudy are a young couple who have inherited a large plot of land and cattle. Thinking they could hire some help to run the cattle out before flipping the property, they’ve upheaved themselves out into the middle of nowhere. In true Americana horror fashion, they meet a cantankerous old gas station owner who warns of strange goings on over at the ranch. Obviously not heeding these warnings they venture forth and things begin to spiral from there.

The abundance of weird and wonderful is complimented by the chosen style of Topilin and Loughridge, ably aided by Brosseau’s lettering. There are some heavy panels in the opening scene with gore aplenty, but delivered with a dash of whimsy that kept this remarkably light. Similarly, where I felt this might be a touch too bright and breezy as we see our protagonists drive and converse about their new, if only short term, lifestyle, it’s in the darker panels where this story shines. Mad, wide-eyed cows and supernatural horrors were not a combination I was expecting.

On my first read through I was admittedly a little lost on the horror angle. I felt there was just a bit too much going on, just a few too many different threads to bind this together. I’m glad I gave it another read though as I got over my initial concerns and, as stated above, just enjoyed the ride. I still feel it’s maybe more of an action horror than something that will truly give you the shivers, but that’s A-okay in my book too.

Rating: 3/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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