Zenescope Entertainment 2021
Written by Kevin Townsley
Illustrated by Rodrigo Xavier, Marcelo Salaza & Vicente Cifuentes
Coloured by Grostieta, Vinicius Andrade & Maxflan Araujo
Card Designs by Ashley Vanacore
Lettered by Kurt Hathaway
It's all fun and games until an evil spirit or demonic entity decides they want to play too!
Games have been around since the earliest of mankind, we have always been drawn to them and they have become almost ritualistic, sitting around with family and loved ones following the rules, laughing, enjoying, and declaring a victor. But when long-time friends get together for a night of presumed fun and games, they will find out that not every game has a winner.
I have to say this is rather inventive and creative. I like the nod to The House on Haunted Hill with the incentive to attend. I am really impressed with the way that this is being told. The opening is intriguing enough and it certainly makes you want to see and know more but it does make wonder if that was a test run for the main event after all every game needs beta testing right? I like that already we’re engaged in the book because we don’t know the characters or what’s happening really it just kind of starts.
I do rather like the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented extremely well. The character development that we see through the dialogue, the character interaction, through the game and how they act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter manages to flesh out the characters exceedingly well. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the story, introducing the characters and placing us in their world is fun to see.
I am appreciative of how this is being structured and how the layers within the story emerge and grow. The avenues that open up through the game and how they are explored allow for some great depth, dimension and complexity to be brought into the storytelling. Also how we see this game unfold is pretty genius what with the updated kind of urban legend feel to it. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is perfectly achieved.
The interiors here are absolutely phenomenal to see! I know different folks did different sections but that apartment of his is to die for. From the way you see the city outside the window to the painting above the fireplace and the light sources hitting the wainscotting it all has this perfect flow to it. The linework is fantastic and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create the detail work is extraordinary. That we see backgrounds utilised so often throughout the book is amazing as it really enhances the moments as well as how it works within the composition of the panels to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the book. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show some really strong talented eyes for storytelling. I’m loving the colour work we see as well. How the various hues and tones within the colours are being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work to maximise the affect that colour is capable of is rendered beautifully.
If I’m going to have on critique here I think he should have taken Chip into the closet instead of Gina with the same course of action taken it would’ve been a much more powerful statement about greed and what being faithful means. Plus a guy like Sam could easily swing both ways and the end result of the book would still hold true. I think the cards are a genius move and how the game is played well that’s something else entirely and I like it. With what we see it just means there’s always the possibility that the game could happen all over again somewhere else with a different host. This is extremely well written with extraordinary characterisation and some killer interior artwork that fits right in with Zenescope’s line of books.