Erica Slaughter is the Ripley, the Sarah Connor, the Furiosa of Tynion and Dell’edera’s Something Is Killing the Children. She’s a ruthless monster hunter that doesn’t like abiding by the rules, especially if it gets in the way of actually helping kids. She’s only one part of why this series was nominated for Best New Series at the 2020 Eisner Awards, but she’s a big part of it. Even as we learn more about her in this issue – where she comes from, how she came to be a part of the House of Slaughter – she remains a beautiful mystery: imperfect, afraid, but willing to do whatever needs to be done.
Most comics these days bounce from scene to scene, trying to fit as much as they can into one issue. Often times, it still feels like not a lot happens. In Something Is Killing the Children, the scenes unfold slowly, with substance, taking their time, so that even if we only have a handful of scenes in each issue or maybe don’t return to a story thread for an issue, it still feels like a lot happens, because a lot is happening. Characters are being studied, tension is being built, and the walls are slowly closing in. Everyone is hustling to do what needs to be done, yet, somehow, no one is moving quite fast enough.
Part of the reason why the dread is exponentially built is because Dell’edera knows how to show the fear in people’s faces: genuine, palpable fear. With a lot of horror stories, you somehow feel distanced from the terror, from the death. Creators want you to feel the exhilaration of the death, but not to the point of discomfort. This creative team wants you to feel that fear and that discomfort. They want you in the panels with the characters, and you are. These are children being killed. And as with much of Tynion’s works, there is a greater reason for all of this.
Consider a bunch of body bags laid out in a high school gymnasium; parents waiting outside to identify what’s left of their kids. Think about kids dying in schools. I’m not talking about the comic anymore. Yes, this story would be powerful enough based on the strong writing and art alone, but with those extra layers built in, there’s an earnest importance, an anger, a truth that everyone needs to understand.
Something has been killing the children. Erica Slaughter should be happy that she just has to deal with the monsters to stop it.
Creative Team: James Tynion IV (writer), Werther Dell’edera (artist), Miquel Muerto (colors), Andworld Design (letters), Michelle Ankley, (designer), Eric Harburn (editor), Assistant Editor (Gwen Waller)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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