Precious few horror comic book collections can be described as true page-turners nowadays. Volumes you feel compelled to read in one sitting. Stories you just can’t put down.
Something Is Killing The Children, Vol. 1 from BOOM! Studios is one of those collections.
Scott Snyder–noted Batman writer–wrote a blurb for this volume that was spot-on: “It’s horror done inspiringly, terrifyingly right.” That pretty much says it.
The writer/artist team of James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera form an almost seamless storytelling duo. Their work here makes one wonder if they tackle a story “Marvel style”–with the writer giving the artist a general breakdown of the story and letting him develop it artistically before adding the dialogue and captions.
And, speaking of captions, there are none in any of the panels of this collection, a rarity in these days of caption-heavy comic books. This gives a very cinematic feel to the story. You almost think you’re watching a movie, not reading a comic. Tynion lets the stark and striking artwork–reminiscent of the great Frank Miller–carry the story.
Also contributing to the overall mood of the comics is the stellar job of coloring by Miquel Muerto and the distinctive lettering from Andworld Design.
But, beyond the creative team, the horrifying story itself–with a Stephen King-esque all-too-real feel –would be more than enough to plunk down $14.99 for the volume, which contains the first five issues of the comic series in one edition.
The scenario is powerful in its simplicity. The Wisconsin town of Archer’s Peak is being plagued by a rash of missing children. The populace–especially the younger residents–are understandably afraid, and the sheriff is feeling more overwhelmed by the day, as several of the missing have shown up brutally murdered.
To make matters worse, James–a local high school student–is suspected of being involved in the gruesome slayings. Enter a mysterious young lady–Erica Slaughter–who believes James’ story of seeing a horrible monster in the area, a nightmarish creature that is responsible for the carnage and terror. In an interesting twist, only children and Erica can see this monster.
And Erica should know. When the reader first sees her, she is fresh from killing a monster in another town. This is what she does–she hunts and kills monsters, working with guidance and instructions from a group of even more mysterious men.
Oh, and she is aided in her bloody war by a being that resembles an octopus-like plush toy that acts very much like Mister Miracle’s Mother Box. Their relationship–and conversations–have to be seen to be believed.
Thrown into the bizarre mix is a local restaurant manager, Tommy Mahoney, whose sister Sophie is a victim of the hungry monster. Tommy, frustrated by the local police, takes matters into his own hands and tracks down Erica and James as they confront the monster in its lair deep within a local cave.
The final battle ends with Erica triumphant over the monster–with the help of almost every weapon (and tool) known to man–only to have the ending be more ominous than happy.
Erica discovers that the monster’s lair was not a food stash (the missing children) as suspected, but a nest! The slain monster was a mother, and her offspring are still hungry and on the loose! To be continued…
And, if you want to find out what happens next, check out Issue No. 7 of the comic, on sale this week. The same writer/artist team is on hand to continue the harrowing story, as Erica moves on to a new town in her monster hunt and James and Tommy try to cope with the horrors they have witnessed.
If you like horror comics that keep you on the edge of your seat (and who doesn’t?), read the collected edition–with Issues No. 1-5–and then move on to the latest issue. (One proviso: These comics are for mature readers, with graphic violence and strong language).