Right off the bat, I was a little confused about this comic. The title font is, forgive me, horrible. I can barely read the title at all, and if I didn’t know what it was called before I actually saw it, I might still be wondering! Not really, but close. It also doesn’t really fit the tone of the comic, but maybe I’m missing something. Okay, so there’s that, but, then, there’s the cover art. There’s a ghostly figure made of moaning faces hovering ominously over the earth. Alright. You won me back. So, here I am opening to page one, and already I’m torn about this comic.
With plenty of adult language, this story follows several different threads and weaves them all together into what seems to be a very large and creepy tapestry. Creators Chris Lie and Mark Powers (Powers also scripted the comic) set loose fantasy elements, very dark and powerful fantasy elements to be precise, into the present day world.
This first issue is really a lot of set up, bouncing between three main characters, a quadriplegic marine, a disillusioned Senator, and a parapsychologist who has unwittingly framed himself for murder, all of whom are affected in some way by this shadowy, other-worldly figure that is gathering an army of souls, presumably for some sort of impending war. And, all of whom are connected to one another in some way.
Perhaps, the biggest flaw in this comic, is the characters themselves. It could be that the author simply tried to fit too much into the first issue, but, after reading the 28-page digital comic, I found myself completely unattached to every one of the characters. All too often the dialogue gives us plot information rather than emotion. I’m interested in seeing where the story goes based on the premise, but I don’t have a bead on any one of the characters motivations, or who they really are. Maybe, it is intentionally a slow burn, but it leaves me wondering why I should care.
Beyond the characters, the story is pretty wild. As I mentioned, there are some dark fantasy elements that seem to indicate some sort of religious twist. Souls are being gathered, bullets rain down from the sky, and mass suicides take place, indicating that not only does our entire world hang in the balance, but the celestial world, as well.
The studio artwork (Caravan Studio) is good and maybe it’s just a weird thing with me, but I love the onomatopoeias, especially when the power goes out, “CHAK-BWEEeooo.” Sorry, I’m a nerd. Though sometimes the art seems a little pasted together, the artwork, in general, really works well and adds to that creepy vibe.
All told, this book has some decidedly interesting things going for it. It is hard to say after reading only this issue, but if you’re into religious-based horror fantasy, then This Haunted World might be a great investment. Go ahead, make a leap of faith.