Antarctic Press 2019
Created & Written by John Ward
Created & Illustrated by Juan Romera
Lettered by Eric Grissom
Vegas tattoo artist Dee discovers her clients are becoming possessed by the tattoos she gave them. Her life is thrown into turmoil when she realises her best friend Sarah has turned into a monstrous killer, seemingly controlled by her new tattoo. A guilty Dee sets out to save Sarah, but soon finds herself out of her depth as she faces off against forces she can barely comprehend.
Wow I saw that this was coming out from Antarctic Press and I wondered if it was the same book I had reviewed back in 2017. Spoiler Alert! It is. I am happy about this too actually because I thought it was an interesting concept and had a lot of potential to it. So I was anxious to see if anything had been changed at all, tweaked if you will based on pass reviews that were done. Now either I am more seasoned and know what to expect having previously read it or the writing has been redone. Either way I found myself liking this one a lot more than I had anticipated which is saying a lot considering I liked it before.
The way that this is being told is really rather well done. The story & plot development that we see and how the information is released throughout the book is nicely done. The character development has a nice way of introducing us to Dee and setting a baseline for her personality and allows us to see how it will grow and change through her experiences. The two do manage to work off each other quite well and while there really aren't any twists and turns to the story beyond the premise and I am actually okay with that, though I wouldn't being surprised now and then by the turn of events. The pacing picks all this and moves through the book with a pretty natural feel to it as if we are experiencing these events alongside Dee.
One of the things that I really thought was nicely done is that we don't see the carnage at Floyd's shop. The aftermath of the attack sure but what that does is allow the reader to visualise it on their own thus engaging them and bringing them further into the story. Hitchcock famously did this and he was among the master storytellers of our time.
I love Juan's work always have and this series benefits from the black and white style we see. While it is notorious for showing off any and all flaws for me there really aren't any here. The linework we see and how it's varying weights are being utilised to bring out this attention to detail is such a treat. The way we see the composition inside the panels shows off this spectacular eye for storytelling because the angles that are utilised and the way page layouts are done. The depth perception and sense of scale that we see keeps the story grounded. Plus the backgrounds and how they enhance the moments and bring that size and scope to the book is sensational.
I feel like this mixes the sensibilities of Romero, Tarantino and Hitchcock. It has that theme of mindless killing, a weird far out concept and allows the reader to see the way people die in their own minds. I said at the time this is worthy of your attention and I am excited to see these creator to grow and blossom and I am thrilled that Antarctic Press picked this up. You will enjoy this, it has a brand new way of telling horror, it's innovative and interesting and just incredibly well done.