Cullen Bunn is indisputably the new king of horror comics. I knew that to be true while reading the Harrow County series, but he solidified his seat with The Unsound #1 (from BOOM! Studios). I’m not sure if anyone can dethrone him, which is just fine with this horror aficionado.
Lest anyone think that horror is an easy genre to tackle, it is not. Horror is an art that can only be perfected over time. The right characters, the eerie atmosphere, the twists and turns, and timely frights are difficult to achieve without seeming cheesy or trite.
In The Unsound #1, Bunn has set up a world that is ripe for horror. A psychiatric hospital is, quite frankly, an overdone setting, but every so often an author tackles it and reminds us why it is so popular among writers. Our main character, nurse Ashli Granger, seems to live a pretty boring life. When we meet her, she’s off to her first day at a new job at the hospital. She’s met by a strange nurse supervisor, with no doctor in sight, and quite the eclectic bunch of patients.
But, there’s something else taking over the hospital, and quite possibly her mind. Each panel pulls the reader a little deeper into the strange, into the insanity, if you will. Not quite sure what is real, Ashli continues her surreal day, and the questions, mysteries, and frights mount. Let’s just say, I’ll never look at a paper plate quite the same again!
Bunn’s work is always accompanied by a fantastic artist, and he has the perfect accomplice in Jack T. Cole. I’m not familiar with Cole’s work like I am with Bunn’s, but I’m an instant fan. There is something scratchy and unnerving about his art that makes it the perfect vehicle for Bunn’s horrific and thrilling writing. The reveals of creepy events (I don’t want to spoil them!) is punctuated by the ability of the art to crawl under the reader’s skin and squiggle around in there – yes, deep in there where horror abounds and controls every previously sane thought.
Horror, supernatural thrills, and chills – if you enjoy any of these, you will fall in love with Bunn and Cole’s latest contribution to the horror world. I personally cannot wait for the next installment to drag me back into this world. Just don’t read too close to bedtime. You never know what you might find.