Who doesn’t like an original horror tale steeped in reality with plenty of mystical things going on? I for one enjoy them, especially when they’re set in America. There just isn’t enough out there showcasing the horrors that live in the many still-wild areas of the country. After checking out the preview I had to get my hands on Oni Press’ new horror title, out October 14th. Is it good?
Blood Feud #1 (Oni Press)
This book opens with two buddies chatting about bad omens. It seems they live in a midwestern town named Spider Creek that’s known for old wives tales and plenty of weird goings on, including a family known for their witchcraft. At face value they appear to be a small town gang, but something else is afoot: Tarantulas are roaming in heavy streams, Blue Jays are appearing on Fridays…you know, the common weird things. One of the the buddies, R.F. Coven, narrates the tale after it happened so we know he lives by the stories end. This book is in fact heavily narrated as if it were a novel, giving us the details of this story as they happen.
Writer Cullen Bunn has a solid story on his hands, with many different moving parts to keep this feeling fresh and new. When a zombie-looking dude appears, you’re not groaning with “not again” sentiments, but instead are geared up and ready for what’s in store. That’s because the backwoods nature of the story is a fresh location, the characters are genuine and the town seems to have a big mystery on its hands. There’s no telling what that mystery is, but that damn family of witches must have something to do with it. When you consider how huge and unexplored a lot of America is this story could very much be real.
Coven’s buddy Cecil Burnett is a hickish type, but he’s fun loving and gives the story a bit of humor. Let me just say you’ll never look at a bucket of dead frogs again. While the female character is introduced she isn’t delved into much, but she adds a scientific element that will surely blend well with all the mystical things going on later.
Really the only problem I had with the story was how heavy the narration is and that makes the story feel as though it’s being told second hand. Danger is depleted a bit when you know Coven will be making it out alive to tell the story. Instead of sticking a lot of the narration into dialogue like most comics do these days, it is read second hand and that slows things down considerably. Given, that makes this a longer than average read, but it hurts the pace for sure.
The art by Drew Moss with Nick Filardi works well and will be even better when more monsters show up next issue. I can’t say a bucket of dead frogs has ever looked so disgusting. The characters get a nice sketchy line from Moss that’s almost cartoony, but detailed enough to make it feel more realistic. Filardi’s colors positively pop with a nice use of purples and reds that cast the scary moon in a scary way. Even though monsters aren’t showing up much here, there’s a sense of brooding terror afoot and it is largely due to this art. There’s something creepy going on and it’s coming.
They know something!
Is It Good?
A great first issue that establishes the characters and more importantly a town with a past that has its toes in the occult. It might have a bit too much narration for my tastes, but I’m geared up and ready for a much more monsterific second issue.
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