Action Lab Entertainment 2016
Written & Lettered by Steve Bryant
Illustrated by Mark Stegbauer
Coloured by Jason Millet
Colour Assists by Drew Browne
I have to say this opening wasn’t what I expecting so kudos to Steve on throwing in nice little twist there. While I do like the competitive nature the kids have in proving they are smart, know how to begin and that I want to call it good natured rivalry it’s really the bigger picture that’s a nice revelation. Full Moon Hollow might just be the most haunted town in America by why aren’t more people flocking here to figure out why? Also why aren’t more locals concerned with all this supposed activity? Some answers may be forthcoming and there’s another thing to raise interest as the kids and Miss Chung talk.
I do like that even in this day and age these kids know how to use a library. Good old fashioned research is always essential when you have to figure out what’s going on. Not everything you google is going to be accurate and that they can trust old newspapers and town records well it’s just a great thing to see. I wish more kids used libraries as tools instead of places to hop onto the internet.
Scared or not these kids have their plan in action and are going for it. I like that we see them overcoming their fear and trying to do what’s right for the town. Also maybe just maybe this could be the beginning of something to come. We’ve got enough little clues planted here and the potential for more stories to come so it’s possible that we can a modern story about kids who have a moral code and have the brains to go about things the smart way setting a nice example for others.
Aside from the fact the kids are at that awkward stage where it’s still boys versus girls and that they are finding their hormones and interests in the opposite, or same, sex all of which make for interesting characterization it’s that they are having the chance to bond through their experiences and actually talking to one another that makes this special. I love that Steve is writing dialogue for them so they and by extension the reader get to know one another deeper than just because they are in something together.
The interiors here are great all-ages stuff. Just enough to be creepy without going full Walking Dead. Mark does a very nice job with these characters giving them individuality and personality. The flow through the pages and panels with the use of perspective and angles is handled nicely. It’s very expressive and emotional work and the use of backgrounds really does help to set the mood, tone and feel of what’s happening around them, fleshing out the bigger picture.
With great dialogue, characterization and a good strong premise this series takes horror to a whole new all-ages level that really gets under your skin. You can enjoy this without all the blood and gore and still have great characters who can teach us all how get along. This is why Action Lab’s book are among the best all-ages books around.