Scout Comics 2017
Written by Matthew Erman
Illustrated by Lisa Sterle
Stranger Things meets Ghost World in Long Lost. Piper and Frances reunite only to confront the horrible and strange creature stalking them. What happens next sets them on a journey back to their home of Hazel Patch in the hopes of uncovering the bizarre circumstances surrounding their mother... but they must deal with each other first.
This issue opens up with two girls wandering through the woods. The hear a rustling in the brush and are frightened then wham that black mass in the house has coalesced into the form of a person standing behind Piper. It’s pretty effective in creating some nice drama and creepy horror moment. Only apparently in broad daylight so that alone should be even more unsettling if one thinks about it.
This encounter has some really weird moments to it including the fact that Pockets collar is seen. Aww poor Pockets that lil guy was awfully cute and I hope he isn’t dead. Still that the girls have a conversation with this being, I’m saying a woman, who is there to cordially invite them to the 55th Birthday of June Laurent well it just keeps getting more and more strange. I like Piper’s response as she is being pretty single minded in her line of questioning. Until Frances takes some action.
Matthew’s characterisation here is really nice to see and it leaves us with questions that we want to see answered. He does a great job in getting the reader invested in the characters so that we can identify them among those we consider family. The way the book is structured could use a few tweaks however. The transition between meeting the mysterious person to seeing them on the road is a little choppy. It could have used some discussion about whether or not they should go and all that jazz. I would’ve liked to seen that discussion/argument which led them to get in the car, I think that was a lost moment for more character development.
Lisa’s work here is growing on me immensely. I love her eye for storytelling with the way she uses page layouts then the angles and perspective we see in the panels. The black & white work really shows some nice attention to detail at times and at others the brush strokes leave it with more of a feeling than a certainty and the distinction is really nice. That first page in the car driving through the mountains is a perfect example of what I'm talking about here. I do wish that kind of attention would appear in the sisters however. Though vastly different its the eyes that make them sisters.
So the car ride is great and the transition to then end of the issue is handled extremely well. While we may not get to hear or see what happened between them in the past we see get to see Frances say “I want to be able to call my sister my friend.” that is among some of the most honest, raw and painful things to say and here, it’s like myself and my sister as we are estranged from each other. To be able to tap into such raw emotion like he does make Matthew one of those writers to keep your eye on.
Through a series of events the girls end up back in their home town of Hazel Patch. Behind them would be some of the very same woodlands that we see in the opening and again it’s inhabited by someone only we can see. This is the kind of work where circumstances and coincidences, of which there are none, leave them stranded. With tensions between the sisters already high this doesn’t help matters any. Oh it should be interesting to see what happens next issue when we get to see what happens next.
Charming, creepy and all too familiar at times this is a good little series and keeps the fact that Scout Comics continues to put out some quality books.