Mina Elwell and Eli Powell’s “InferNoct: Part One” is a suspenseful introduction to a female led urban fantasy like story with a strong Lovecraftian flair. It very successfully sets the stage for a horror comic series that has some actual horror in it.
The issue opens with a mysterious person making their way through an abandoned parking garage. The absence of people in an urban space is creepy even without the prevalence of vine like tentacles threading themselves along the pipes and columns of the building. This provides a sense of the ominousious right from the start and this pervades throughout the entire issue. Just as the figure reaches their destination, the reader is shown another location where we are introduced to our main character: Sam Davin. She works for a home care business and she had recently picked up a new job before the start of the issue. We see her begin her first day of taking care of an elderly man who lives in an old house out in the boonies. He is covered in what appears to be bedsores, doesn’t talk, and won’t sleep.
There is careful attention to genre and pacing that is present in all aspects of the issue. It has been said that true horror comes from the imagination and this can be seen quite well in the various noises that surround her as she goes about her job. While “Krak” and “Splinter” might be normal sounds coming from an old house “Squich” and “Slurp” are not. Not only does this create a perfect atmosphere as the pace moves slowly forward, it gives Marshall Dillon a chance to showcase his expert lettering. Tristan Elwell’s bright coloring on these sounds, in contrast to the grungy look everywhere else, is also very good at keeping the mood. When it comes right down to it, it’s the little touches like the shape and old paper coloring of the dialogue boxes when Sam is on the phone and the way that the two narrative boxes match the sunrise from Sam’s introduction that really sets this apart from the rest. The art is mostly superb. Although I don’t understand why there is so much shading around the lower half of Sam’s mouth in some panels, the grainy black and the rough almost chalk like lines are very effective at conveying a sense of impending doom. Mina Elwell’s writing confirms this with classic nods such as the list of duties which includes “NEVER turn off all the LIGHTS.” When most of them inevitably go dark, we get a motivating reveal that sets up the next issue quite nicely.
If you are looking for a modern comic with an old school horror feel to it, this is the comic for you. The pacing might be a bit too slow for some; however, it builds suspense and sets things up nicely. It also ends in a way that should keep readers coming back for more regardless of how much actually happens in this introductory issue. It may not give readers a new reason to live, but this series seems quite ready to deliver on all its other promises. Five Stars!