Thanks, in part, to the TV show American Horror, comic books are enjoying something of a horror renaissance. True, Dark Horse and their Mignola-verse have been the bastions of this genre, but now there is another place you can go for your creepy jollies.
Redlands #1 is exactly the type of high quality book you would expect to see from Image Comics. Set in the standard horror trope of a backward little town; there is a battle going on; a battle of power, between demons and well, more demons and between evil for a good cause and just plain evil. Confused? You needn’t worry; at its most basic level, this is a book about the things that keep us up at night, both supernatural and natural; where the darkness in other humans is a frightening as the darkness of witches and demons.
Writer and colorist Jordie Bellaire has crafted a tale that will be pretty familiar to horror fans. To say that there is nothing particularly new on show wold be an understatement. Yet, the uniqueness on show has more to do with the creators own nightmares, rather than the characters own actions and ultimately the ramifications of those actions. Bellaire writes in a concise way, that even though this is the first issue, allows for assumptions to be made. From a horror point of view, this is great tack to take as it give Bellaire the chance to play with our expectations. Looking through the book, there are a number of familiar character types, which may cause the more experienced reader to roll their eyes.
Vanesa R. Del Ray provides her own dark and gritty take on events. From page one, you are in no doubt that you are reading a horror story and that the characters involved are in a world of trouble. Looking through the art, I am reminded a lot of the movie The Last Exorcism in some ways and regardless of the film’s poor IMDB score, that’s not a bad thing. Del Rey’s figure work has a touch of Klaus Jansen to it, which again isn’t a bad thing. For the record the Legends of the Dark Knight story Gothic still gives me shivers. Del Rey is undoubtedly helped out by having Bellaire return to her day job, giving the book a look that screams “bad stuff happening to bad people”!
Books like this are not usually my cup of tea as I do feel that the whole horror genre suffers greatly from a lack of real surprises. Maybe I am just jaded. Still, that said, I think I will definitely be keeping an eye out for this book and subsequent issues to see if Bellaire and Del Rey can build on a such a solid first issue.
Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art – 4 Stars
Colors – 5 Stars
(W) Jordie Bellaire, Vanesa Del Rey (A) Jordie Bellaire (A/CA) Vanesa Del Rey
In Shops: Aug 09, 2017