American Gothic Press 2015
Written by Paul Tobin
Illustrated by Jeff Johnson
Coloured by Anthony Diecidue
Lettered by Marshal Dillon
As Langer’s story continues this book takes such a different path than I had seen it going on and that’s one of the thing Paul does so very well. The Kind Souls seem like horrific deformed monsters and they kinda are but not the way we think of them. Shane surprised the heck out of me this issue and this young woman a mother figure to all these children while I may not have guessed as who she was she’s definitely proven the old adage don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
As Paul delves further into the Shane and children’s origins I see this kind of parallel between Terracore and the Star Trek III movie where they build new worlds out of dead ones. Only here the concept is much more plausible and the source or secret of Terracore is revealed. We also see why Timi drank it when they were hiding and how it didn’t affect him like Langer thought it would. I like that this goes from a routine mission to one where Langer is stranded planetside chased by a group that hates him, unknowingly, and ends up this whole discussion about what makes one human. There’s an intelligent story here wrapped up in this world of freaks and monsters.
Langer’s time here with Shane and the children are changing him and we’ll see with next issues conclusion just how deep those changes run. It amazed me to read this issue and see Shane talk about the planet and the effects of Terracore on her and the kids. Then to talk of how it was made something you’d never think she could possibly know about. The Gray Man is mentioned again and while he seems like a protector and savior the jury’s still out on that. That’s still another issue away still.
Here we see the affects that Terracore has on humans and what it’s capable of depending on the type of person you. Either morphing you into something more foul the Kind Souls or beneficial like adapting to the hostility of the planet and allowing them to survive. This substance is able to terraform the body as well as the planet and it’s a concept that really hadn’t occurred to me this fully till it was explained. That’s the joy here for me. To try to figure out what’s happening and granted we knew Terracore was at the heart of it but to go in a different direction thanks to Langer’s knowledge and point of view well it demonstrates Paul’s ability as a storyteller to really misdirect you from what you’re seeing.
That what started out as this weird odd story about a man encountering monsters should develop into something so much deeper and thoughtful has a been a joy to encounter. I also like seeing Langer’s own inner struggle with what he’s facing. He’s confronted with ideas outside everything he’s been told and he isn’t sure to follow his head or his heart and that struggle is what keeps me captivated.
Jeff and Anthony’s work on the interiors here keep you going right along with the story Paul’s telling. They have managed to reveal just enough of the kids appearances to kind of lead you one way and then the reveal here of just how different they are is that aha moment. There’s also some incredible stand out moments like seeing the Earth from space or the amusement park all lit up that just remind you this is a science fiction/horror story at heart.
American Gothic Press is the breakout company of the year with creators and stories like these they should live long and prosper.