Exclusive: Horror News Network ‘Tenement No. 1’ Review

by Thomas Tuna

You don’t usually use the phrase “page-turner” with a comic book, but here’s the exception.

The premiere issue of Tenement–the start of what promises to be a must-read 10-issue miniseries from Image Comics–is described as a cross between Dario Argento’s Inferno and Rosemary’s Baby. It’s also the latest standalone story in a shared comics universe known as The Bone Orchard Mythos.

The comic is all that–and more.

The storyline follows seven residents of an unusual building–and the dark secrets that bind them together. And the manner in which the tale is told is both unique and spell-binding.

Tenement No. 1–brought to vibrant life by writer Jeff Lemire, artist Andrea Sorrentino, colorist Dave Stewart, letterer Steve Wands and editor Greg Lockard–is a tour-de-force of comic book storytelling. The contributions of every member of the creative team are evident in every page–every panel.

Lemire and Sorrentino form a masterful writer-artist team. In the annals of comic book lore, there have been Lee and Kirby, Thomas and Buscema, O’Neil and Adams–all classics in their own way. Tenement is told in the style most familiar to current fans–with heavy emphasis on eye-catching artwork, sprinkled with a sparse script. And here, it works perfectly.

With compliments and kudos to Lemire’s fascinating story, this comic is carried by Sorrentno’s pencils and inks. The layout, choice of panel construction and frighteningly realistic depictions of the real and unreal make the reader want to dawdle on each panel–while needing to move on, wanting to see what happens next.

And, for many comic book fans, the skills of a colorist and letterer are often overlooked–or even misunderstood. But, in Tenement, Stewart and Wands shine, with the colors and letters adding the exclamation point to the finished product. Editor Greg Lockard’s most difficult job on this project must have been clapping everyone on the back.

Horror comics are supposed to make you cringe and gasp. This one makes you think–and wonder what the second issue will bring.

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