IDW combines parenting with horror in Scarenthood #1 by writer/artist Nick Roche. The plot follows a group of parents who awaken an ancient evil while their kids are away on a field trip. The first issue stumbles a bit in terms of writing, but delivers a lot of fun in the illustrations. It’s a four-part mini-series that still has potential if it can get out of its own way.
If you’re unfamiliar with Nick Roche, he’s been responsible for a ton of awesome Transformers stories over the years including Last Stand of the Wreckers and Death of Optimus Prime. Scarenthood #1 covers a whole different genre, but the biggest thing missing is a strong foundation of character development. Unlike the Transformers, which is more of a household name these days, Scarenthood presents a cast of unknown people. The story jumps right into a day in the life of being a parent of a preschool child without properly introducing any of the main protagonists.
This not only made the first half of the book a little confusing to follow, but it also suffers from an overcrowded amount of dialogue. The book does begin to pick up steam once the kids go off on their field trip and the parents investigate a myth about the school involving an old hunting lodge that burned down. There are a few twists revealed, but readers aren’t given enough development of the characters to care about their findings. Perhaps these are things that we will discover in the remaining issues.
In terms of artwork, Roche scores big, giving the book a B-movie horror look. He also adds some humorous moments, like a panel where the kids are getting out of school and the teachers look like they’ve chosen the wrong profession for a living. The character designs are done increasingly well, and the world around them works perfectly. We don’t get much in terms of the horror aspect here, but most horror films have a slow build-up as well, so I’m not concerned yet.
Scarenthood #1 is off to a slow start, but is still worth seeing where the next issue takes us. The dialogue could use some cutting down and it wouldn’t hurt if a caption or two was added so that readers don’t lose focus of what’s going on. The pacing is decent and has some amazing color work by colorist Chris O’Halloran. Scarenthood #1 stumbles a bit in terms of writing but delivers a lot of fun in the illustrations.
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