Advance Review – Dark Spaces: Good Deeds #1 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Che Grayson
Artwork: Kelsey Ramsay
Colours: Ronda Pattison
Lettering: Shawn Lee
Release Date: 17th May 2023

Ahead of its release next week, we’re thrilled to be able to take an early look at ‘Good Deeds’, the next instalment in the IDW Originals ‘Dark Spaces’ anthology series. This brand-new story takes us to the historic town of St. Augustine, Florida in the midst of its 450th anniversary celebrations, just as Rebecca and her teenage daughter Cheyenne move into the slightly unwelcoming, worryingly close-knit community to refurbish and re-open a dilapidated diner.

Also thrown into the mix is Jean McKnight, a troubled journalist whose visceral, terrifying nightmares appear to be bleeding into her day-to-day life, and who finds herself being handed the less-then-illustrious assignment of covering the St. Augustine celebrations by her editor.

The first issue sees writer Che Grayson and artist Kelsey Ramsay (a creative team handpicked by ‘Dark Spaces’ curator Scott Snyder himself) introducing us to our young family and setting the scene.  The pair do a good job of establishing the inherent likeability of both Rebecca and Cheyenne, underscoring that sentiment by ensuring that the inhabitants of St. Augustine are as unfriendly and downright horrible to them as possible.

Che takes their time with the pacing here, focusing more on tone than plot throughout the course of this first issue, and letting the characters themselves take center stage. It’s probably a wise approach, perhaps a little too slow-burning for my personal tastes, but still engaging enough to keep the pages turning. I’m also definitely a big fan of their dialogue here, which flows naturally throughout, staying well away from melodrama or clunky exposition.

Full disclosure, Kelsey Ramsay isn’t an artist I have a lot of prior knowledge of, but her scratchy, evocative style really helps to sell the vaguely unsettling tone of this story.  The bulk of this first issue keeps things fairly grounded for the most part, which only lends greater emphasis to the brief flashes of supernatural horror, and the flair with which Ramsay handles these fleeting moments bodes extremely well for the remainder of this series when things invariably start to escalate

I’m getting some serious Stephen King vibes from the faintly insidious small town setting, which is most definitely a good thing, and the final pages ramp up both the horror and the intrigue while still managing to provide way more questions than answers. It’s still too early to tell exactly where this story is headed, but you can consider me well and truly hooked.  Another solid addition to the ‘Dark Spaces’ series.

Rating: 3.5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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