Oni Press 2015
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Drew Moss
Coloured by Nick Filardi
Lettered by Crank!
The Stubbs are a rowdy, trouble making bunch, but the Whatelys... folks speak of the Whatelys in hushed whispers. When the Whatleys bargain with dark forces to rid them of the Stubbs clan, four unlikely heroes are all that’s left between a ravenous legion of ghoulish, vampiric creatures and the unsuspecting world beyond the boundaries of this sleepy Ozarks community.
The progression of this story has been amazingly well done. I’m also kind of digging the fact that whereas I thought this was going to be the climactic issue it wasn’t. So when we last left our trio they had arrived in the center of town and now after one vampire scurries off they see if anyone is left alive. We see the state of the stores along main street and it doesn’t look good at all. Then R.F. notices that the church has been left unscathed.
As they head there we get some nice background on R.F. and Jack. It’s the cute stuff that they remember from being kids that is the kind of stuff that fleshes out their characters but at that time which would seem inappropriate. I mean the church is locked up tight but the vampires are coming now in force. As it turns out the vampires can’t get into the church but a surprise does await them there as what remains of the townsfolk took shelter there.
Cullen really is a master wordsmith and the dialogue and story here is pretty freaking fantastic! Gotta say this is some great unexpected stuff and that’s what keeps stories like this fresh and interesting. When things happen you aren’t thinking will, like finding these folks and getting more characterization and characters introduced it’s fun to see how the town has shaped the boys and made them men. I have to admit though that Jack kept everything he’d seen and learned about this Blood Feud to himself and not sharing with Annie or the others was an interesting choice. Sure he can’t make heads or tails of what he’s seen or actually process it all that well so why not keep it all to himself?
When day breaks things change a bit. Jack sends Annie and the rest of the survivors off to the next town while he R.F. and Sue go about something else. I like this it’s more fun than I would’ve thought and honestly I think I gained a whole new level of respect for them. Sure I’d like to think I too would do that but chances are unless I had no other choice well…. It just goes to show that no matter what you may think Cullen has this way of surprising you. It really is what makes me like this more and more as it goes along.
Drew and Nick have been killing it on the interiors here. Their take on the vampires is uniquely theirs and honestly drawing all those Tarantula’s had to be time consuming. Plus I still think of these as the Dukes, Bo and Luke anyway, and that is something I find outrageously fun to see. I love the use of pages and panels or just lack thereof to keep the story moving forward.
That this is a new and original take on something familiar and classic that it’s like nothing you’d have thought it could be makes this one incredibly special.