DC Black Label/Hill House Comics 2019
Written by Joe Hill
Illustrated by Leomacs
Coloured by Dave Stewart
Lettered by Deron Bennett
Hunted to the point of exhaustion, June Branch struggles to outwit and outfight the home invader coming after her. He’s armed with a .44 and a secret agenda; she’s got a thousand year-old Viking relic and no way to escape. The axe is about to fall in the topsy-turvy second chapter of the horror story with the sharpest edge in comics!
Fears escalate and a full moon rises over the HMS Havoc in chapter three of the “Sea Dogs” backup tale, written by Joe Hill!
This is a great book and already it has all the nuance and weirdness that you could possibly want it to have and then some. I mean June is told to run when intruders break into the home and while she was supposed to run away outside well you know the drill. Still the way this issue plays out and when the identity of one of these men is revealed I have to say I hadn't realised I was capable of being even more intrigued and excited by the book than I already was. Joe has one of those unique perspectives on the world, life and things go bump in the dark and considering who his father is it's only natural the son surpass the father in talent and skill. Yes I said it and I stand by that!
The way that this is being told is bloody brilliant. I had originally thought I knew who was carrying the basketful of heads in the beginning but boy was I wrong and I am not ashamed to say I couldn't be any happier that I was. This is much more twisted and interesting, though just once I would like to see a gay couple, male, star in a horror series like this so what do ya say Joe? The way the story & plot development is seen through the sequence of events and how we learn information is exceedingly well done. The way the story almost feels like it meanders and belies the danger and the sheer terror being felt is superb! The character development is marvellous and I love seeing June going through all this the way she does and while I want to say more I cannot for fear of revealing way too much. With the pacing of this we see how the twists and turns unfold and create the ebb & flow of the story, which is rather quite good.
I love the work that Leomacs is doing on the interiors here. The utilisation of the page layouts is superb and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows such a talented eye for storytelling. The linework is strong and through the varying weights we see how he brings about the attention to detail. The composition inside the panels and how the backgrounds are utilised to create depth perception, scale and bring this overall sense of size and scope to the story is quite marvellous to see. Dave's colour work is exemplary and to do all this at night with no real natural light sources takes some mad skills to pull the way he does. I gotta say that seeing him in the bathroom looking for all the world like a demon was spectacular. Also to see the colours at night and still be so recognisable is splendiferous.
This issue took us places and reveals things for the first time that would've made me loose my cookies and run screaming for the hills. The way this is being told, the way that we see things unfold and the overall craziness that is a the concept all come together beautifully here. I think DC scored a big coup by having Joe create this imprint and so far there isn't one book from that I've read that hasn't lived up to the reputation of the line.