Thom Burgess and Joe Becci’s first foray into the creepy, dark world of Malevolents starts off like a classic horror tale: a group of teenagers break into an old house to spend the night, smoke, drink, and regale each other with scary stories to see which will cave under the pressure. As one member of the group shares a story about the alleged history of the residence, it gradually becomes clear that story and history often intersect, and, sometimes, there really are things that go bump, or click, in the night.
There’s nothing new about teenagers stumbling upon creepy circumstances in horror tales, so the beginning of Malevolents: Click, Click left me a little unimpressed. The kids possess an old Ouija board, a teen disappeared mysteriously in the past, and one of the kids received inside information about both the house and the disappearance from a creepy adult; however, as Burgess unfolded Billy’s tale (the missing teenager), the details about spiraling into madness/being haunted hit me. While I didn’t feel the need to look over my shoulder or jump at every click as I finished the final pages, I definitely gasped in disbelief at the twisted finale.
While it took a while for me to warm up to the plot, Joe Becci’s detailed artwork fascinated me from the moment I saw the cover. The black-and-white interior pages display intricate line work (The hair on the characters must have taken forever to draw!), and the softer look of the backgrounds helped them fade into eerie darkness. The art definitely added infinitesimally to the darkness of Malevolents: Click, Click and brought the terror of the specter into sharper focus.
The creators’ love of hauntings and spectral circumstances flow off each page, and I’m pretty sure that Malevolents: Click, Click should appeal to readers who like to believe that there’s a thin veil between the worlds of the dead and the living that sometimes gets lifted. It’s not the type of horror that includes jump scares, dramatic music, or gore; it’s the kind that slowly seeps in, infuses the atmosphere, and makes it a little harder to be alone in the house after dark.
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