‘I Hate This Place #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Take a newly inherited home - where the couple moving into it is getting away from the city and the one who inherited it has only been once as a child - and mix in some monsters, UFOs, and ghosts, and you get one hell of a start to a comic book series.

Gabrielle inherits a ranch from her great aunt, and with her partner Trudy, they move into it sight unseen (except once in Gabby’s childhood). Gabby and Trudy are of different minds; Gabby wants to sell off the cattle and ranch within a year, while Trudy wants to bunker down for doomsday. Their differences work well in making them a fascinating couple. Gabrielle is more of a dreamer and planner, always seeing the brightness of life. Trudy, on the other hand, was raised by doomsday planners and is still deeply entrenched in believing in an impending apocalypse.

Once they arrive in town, a wise convenience store clerk tells them they shouldn’t go up there and that they’ve just inherited a bunch of UFOs. This sets us up for the possibility of aliens, but the book doesn’t stop there. Writer Kyle Starks instead takes us on a journey that cannot be predicted, and one that I cannot wait to see unfold. And, the ranch comes complete with a VHS tape of the dearly departed great aunt providing the two with rules to play by. The peaceful bubble that Gabby lives in allows for some humor and lightheartedness mixed in with the more fearful storyline.

The relationship between Gabby and Trudy is fantastically portrayed. There is no overt “they’re both women” or even a mention of the fact that Gabby is Caucasian while Trudy is Black. I personally love stories where diversity is presented in such a natural way. It allows the reader to stay wrapped up in the tale while experiencing the diversity of the characters.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the story and characters, the art really stood out to me. There’s a realness to the characters with just enough exaggeration to give them deep personality traits before they even speak. The creatures are so well done that they scare from the pages and create apprehension in the reader. The moments of love between the two leads tugs on those old heart strings, not something you often find set against a paranormal sci-fi story. And the font choices for lettering are perfect in expressing emotion and eliciting fear.

There is a slight contradiction in the beginning of who Gabrielle inherited the ranch from. It is first stated as aunt, then later as great aunt. It is confirmed to be the great aunt in a flashback. It’s a minor consistency issue, but since the two are a generation apart, there is a need for distinction.

With such talent behind the panels, this is a must-read comic series. Once you’re in, you’ll find that Gabby and Trudy’s ranch is a place we’ll all want to visit… if we can manage to stay alive while there.


Creative Team: Creator/Writer: Kyle Starks, Creator/Artist: Artyom Toplin; Colors: Lee Loughridge; Lettering: Pat Brosseau; Editor: Jon Moison; Logo: Andres Juarez; Production Design: Jillian Crab
Publisher: Skybound (Image Comics)
Click here to purchase.



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