Vault Comics 2020
Written by Daniel Kraus
Illustrated by Chris Shehan
Coloured by Jason Wordie
Lettered by Jim Campbell
Following the death of her estranged mother, Kat Somerville and her daughter, Sybil, flee a difficult life in Chicago for the quaint--and possibly pernicious--town of Comfort Notch, New Hampshire.
Wow this starts off on a very disturbing note and right away the reader is engaged in the story. You think about what you are seeing and why or how this all has happened and while you cannot justify it properly as of yet, it does leave you with a heavy desire to know more. You can see that Daniel is a novelist and he approaches this story in that manner which makes it even more impressive. I mean to translate that skill to comics and seamlessly the two ways of storytelling leaves me in awe, and a desire to seek out his novels. I am creeped out and have this innate desire to know more because what I see may make me somewhat uncomfortable but that’s precisely what is intended here.
I am an instant fan of 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 laid perfectly. The slow release of real information and letting the readers’ use their minds to fill in the blanks is spectacular to see here. The character development is interesting and how we see the character act and react to the situations and circumstances that they encounter well it just makes your skin crawl and the excitement & intrigue about the story rise with each encounter. The pacing is damn near flawless to see and as it takes us through the journey that is their lives it is the perfect guide.
The way this is structured and how we see the layers within the story works to magnify the interest and intrigue factors here. Then there is how well everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow which is hands down sensational. Everything we see and how we as the reader react to it is going to be that singular experience that only you can have. What may make my skin crawl or just raise an eyebrow you on the other hand will most likely have a different reaction and to know this about a book is what makes it special in ways that you can’t tell but only feel. The only shared experience here will be when you talk to someone else who’s read it.
The interiors here are inspiring. The way we see the utilisation of the page layouts like they are between older photographs and watercolour paintings and it provides this weirdly alluring and intriguing work. How we see the angles and perspective in the panels they show us this masterful eye for storytelling. Through it all there is this stellar attention to detail and when it comes to the faces and facial expressions it wows me with how well it portrays emotions and feelings to the reader. The colour work is extraordinary to see. It feels like a mixture of applications to me and how we see the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work shows a mastery of colour.
This story is utterly amazing. Yes Vault Comics constantly pushes the envelope on their storytelling and this is so within that realm. It is incredibly well written, the range of emotions that the reader feels and how you react to the events we see is probably as desired by Daniel. This is hauntingly familiar and yet it’s also uniquely creepy and the combination along with how we feel about this mother and her daughter takes us to a place we’ve not experienced in comics before.