Redlands drops you into the middle of a bad situation that you know is only going to get worse, and it does so with unfettered glee in the macabre and the occult.
A tree has been set ablaze with burning nooses dangling, and the local police have boxed themselves into their station, peering out to see where their victims have gone. “Bitches” the boys in blue call them, but demons are the more appropriate terminology for what plagues their town.
The Sheriff barks orders at the remaining few officers while straight up bludgeoning his son in the face to get him to do what he wants. In the basement of the station, all the local criminals have been crowded into a cell to wait out the conflict above. The pacing of the book from panel to panel, from dialogue to dialogue, draws you in. Vanesa R. Del Rey’s art and Jordie Bellaire’s coloring (also the writer) immediately creates a haunting and visceral environment in which you feel not only trapped but in immediate danger. You’re in over your head as chaos erupts.
A lot of the horror is found in the eyes of the characters presented on the page, and a lot of the horror seems to crawl out of the shadows when you least expect it. The horror in this book exists on every panel of every page. It is relentless and yet subtle.
As far as the first issue of a comic book, this has to be the best introduction to the three main characters I have seen in a long time, because you get to see what effect they have on the world around them before meeting them. And from the effect they have on the world around them, I’m really looking forward to the next issue to see exactly where this absolutely thrilling piece of horror fiction decides to go.