Boom Studios 2015
Written by Mike Carey
Illustrated by Mike Perkins
Coloured by Andy Troy
Lettered by Jim Campbell
I am in love with the idea behind this story! The last time I saw something like this was a romantic comedy but the idea really does lend itself beautifully to a horror story. Two people swapping houses one goes across the ocean to a land they’ve never been to and the house she stays in has a deep dark history to it. Without friends or relatives to fall back on in a gorgeous old land as a backdrop it’s rife for exploration on the creepier side of things.
Who better to write this than Mike? He’s had a pretty long and interesting writing career and he’s definitely comfortable in the supernatural horror realm. Plus I do kind of get excited when I see he’s working on something because i’m that big a fan of his work. Still the whole concept behind this excites me and from what we see this issue it’s one of those stories that i’m surprised we haven’t seen more of.
We open with could be the ending as we see a young woman calling the police and running for her life from an unknown assailant. It’s everything a great opening should have with a spattering of background information a lot high tension and then this creepy demonic looking zombie type appearing at the end. It does wonders for setting the mood and tone of the whole series.
When we go back to the beginning we get to see a fuller picture of Katie and why she wants to do this house swap. Her parents love her but smother and are more a little old fashioned, see settled down get married. So she wants adventure and something new and different in her life. Plus the idea of a remote house on the English countryside is incredibly appealing to her. The communication is started and the deal is struck and new life for a short time awaits.
What I really like about this is Katie’s naivete about all this and not doing the research on the house or the area. I’d have local legends and that jazz to see if there were unexplained nonsense going on. Still one can forgive all that after getting to know Katie and how excited she is to be doing all this. I really do like the way that Mike is telling the story and how Mike and Andy tell it visually. There’s both an innocence and a hardness at play within these pages that play against each other nicely. They really do capture her loveliness and optimism while keeping this creepiness in the background so you are waiting, waiting for the corruptness to occur.
I really do like the way Mike’s unfolding the story for us. The flow of it is incredibly natural and by giving us more to Katie than meets the eye regarding her past he’s actually able to throw shades of doubt into her mind. Thinking she might be falling back into her old ways instead of seeing what’s happening as real and now. It’s a hell of a tool to be honest and i’ve got to say this is genuinely one of the most fascinating and creepy books. Plus how he incorporates the name of the series into the story it makes sense and adds that sense of old world feeling to it.
There’s nothing contrite about how this story goes it feels real not made up and that’s possibly the best and most frightening aspect of the book.