Zenescope Entertainment 2016
Written by Joe Brusha
Illustrated by Allan Otero
Coloured by Fran Gamboa & J.C. Ruiz
Lettered by Matt Krotzer
Urban legend tells of a satanic cult that performed rituals in the Ohio woods at the turn of the century. The rituals became more and more disturbing and eventually led to the ultimate evil… a human sacrifice. Legend states the cultists were so successful that they opened a portal that leads directly to hell. Now, twenty years later, the last surviving victim of the cult has returned, but something immensely evil has arrived as well... an entity known only as the Shadow Man.
First I have to say i’m impressed with the fact that I live in Cincinnati and know the Blue Ash area extremely well but never once heard mention of Satan’s Hollow. That it is a real place and was covered in the news, yes I googled it, so that it’s based in something real with the added parts that make it scarier and creepier, hence fiction, is great.
I am a big stickler when it comes to the interior artwork and I have to say that I really like what i’m seeing here. There’s a clean, crisp and detail in the artwork and the colouring or mood lighting as the case may be is a great enhancement to what the story is about. You really get a great sense of fear, trepidation and unease from both words and pictures here and it’s great to see that this more “mature” Zenescope embrace this direction, the kind that works on you viscerally and not because of overtly gory.
I really, really liked the opening of this issue. It’s well thought out and executed both in words and visuals. The fact that two teenage boys are exploring this place and their dialogue with wanting to be ghost hunters, reality show fame is a nice lure, rings incredibly true to form. It is one of those openings that really does set the stage for the story to come and draws you in captures your attention and leaves you excited for more.
What else we get here is a great back story concerning the main characters. John and Sandra move back to Blue Ash twenty years after Sandra left. She was three years old and her family was the victim of an accident and she doesn’t remember anything about living there. Though coming back old memories and feelings are bound to resurface. There’s a tension between the two that I noticed right away. While a good meaning couple to me there’s something behind John’s desire to move here at this time. As the story plays out it could be proven why I have that feeling or if it’s just coincidence that upon her arrival Satan’s Hollow is once again active.
There’s a nice weave of the past clashing with the present. While at times things may seem to move a little quicker from scene to scene than i’d like, it would’ve been nice to see the couple in the car going home but overall it’s a minor thing to miss. Her newfound feelings and memories are coming back and that explanation of her current mindset is there but could’ve been defined a bit better. Overall though it’s pretty solidly told. Joe’s transitions need some work but he’s come a heck of a long way as a writer.
I like this, there’s a Mature label on the cover and for me it’s more than just subject matter related it’s the way I feel about how the company has been moving forward. This is story driven story and doesn’t have to rely upon anything else to make it great. I recommend this it’s off a good start and I’m excited to see how it goes.