Phillip Kelly

Phillip Kelly (186)

I wrote the review of Prometheus: Life and Death #1 a week back which is the issue that takes place after Predator: Life and Death #4. I wish I had reviewed them in the order they were supposed to go. I feel like I would have gotten a little more out of Prometheus. Not because I didn’t understand what was going on or didn’t enjoy it on some level, but because now I see how the stakes have been raised. That would have been helpful.

As a society who has embraced entertainment on a euphoric scale, we seek happy endings to the point at which we’ve forgotten what a good horror story should be. One that plays on our fears, even as the lights come up. And if there is a happy ending, what was lost to get us there? What part of ourselves or others have we given up? Other horror stories have taken this idea to the nihilistic extreme, treating the sheer act of unavoidable torture as something that is scary. The art of the horror story has been (for the moment) mostly lost. That’s why when a tale like Cullen Bunn’s Death Follows comes around, I let loose a huge sigh of relief.

Inspired is the word that comes to mind after reading Issue 6 of Sam Humphries and Tom Patterson’s political satire that borders on full-blown, the-beginning-of-the-end-of-America nightmare called Citizen Jack. Glorious is the second word.

Dan Abnett continues the newest Dark Horse cross-over cycle, picking up from his Predator: Life and Death with Prometheus: Life and Death #1. His Predator sequence was fun and lively, and Andrea Mutti's artwork was just disturbing enough in how it ever so slightly distorted reality to make it relatively frightening, especially for a Predator story (which I tend to not find scary). It was a job well done.

I spent the entirety of my first review giving reasons why Matt Kindt is a genius. Now, let me take this second issue and focus on why Sharlene Kindt is a genius.

I just got chills as I read the final line in issue twelve of Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crooks’ Harrow County, with Hannah Christensen taking artistic duties from Crook in this issue. Let me begin by saying Harrow County is one of my favorite comics currently on the stands. It’s a dark fairy tale that takes the horror tropes of today and rips them to shreds, then gives us something both spectacularly old and incredibly fresh. This is the type of horror that exists in scribbles on parchment, evils that feel like they’ve been lurking just out of our sight from days long before us, before concrete buildings and digital landscapes. This is the stuff that slowly digs its way under your skin.

Peter J. Tomasi, Ian Bertram, and Dave Stewart continue the descent into madness in their second issue of House of Penance. The one thing we’re not allowed as we’re pitched into this fever dream is a solid reality to grab hold of. It’s like coming out of the womb and you’re drowning before ever having taken in a breath of fresh air. With all dreams and surrealist works of art, we have only our own reality to grab hold of as a point of reference. We know something is wrong, because what we understand through our own experiences informs us that something isn’t right, and that’s what our creators are up to – subverting reality, little by little, away from what we understand to be real. What is real and what is not in this House of Penance will be discovered, I imagine as we go forward, just keep your wits about you.

It is not evil, it is not chaos – it is nature hardened, a blade sharpened. It does what it does with an intent to survive, to perfect itself. We just happen to be lower on the food chain. It is advanced beyond our power, because there is no reasoning with it, no bribing it, no impressing it. It simply does what it does, over and over and over again, and it does it better than most anything else. No, I’m not talking about the awesome Xenomorph. I’m talking Brian Wood, the writer of at least one fourth of the books on the comic book shelf right now – the others belonging to probably Jeff Lemire, Jason Aaron, and Brian Michael Bendis. Brian Wood adds to his staggering amount of output with Aliens: Defiance #1.

Based on a short story by Neil Gaiman and adapted by Todd Klein, The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch presents a dreamlike mystery as three friends reminisce about a bizarre trip to a circus in a forgotten labyrinth under England where the fourth, a Miss Finch (not her name), went missing under strange circumstances. But it’s not the how that’s the mystery, it’s the why. What makes her different and what does she lose or gain?

If you’ve been following, you know that Travis was an orphan with major anger problems. In seeking out his family, a private investigator (and friend) that he hired was murdered, entangling him in an investigation. Travis didn’t have to wait long, as his family was also looking for him – specifically his half-sister, Jennifer, who told him that his father was the leader of a cult. Their father, David Daly, is still around, hunting down victims and torturing them in basements. David has apparently made a deal with the devil, though the endgame has yet to be revealed. Meanwhile ,Travis’ anger and penchant for secrecy was pushing away his girlfriend Melissa. They split as he found out she was pregnant with his baby. End volume one.

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