Behind a gloriously atmospheric cover lies the sort of story that you would expect to find on an episode of The Twilght Zone, albeit with more naked bat creatures thrown in.
Written and drawn by Gabriel Hardman, this one-shot published by Image works best as a sharp shock to the system, suiting the confines of its format. Hardman writes in a way that fits the moody surroundings where horrors upon horrors are put on our besieged set of characters. Script and dialogue are tense, with no real explanation giving although there is an element of obviousness towards the end which kind of dilutes the maturity of the book; I for one didn’t need anything explaining. The main protagonists are ok, equally replaceable as they exist only in an effort to create the tension in the story.
The main attraction of this book is definitely the art, with its scratchy look applied across the shadows in which the survivors try to come to grips with their predicament. The colors are a muted hue, where browns and greens and a little bit of flesh thrown in for good measure, seems to shrink from the ever encroaching darkness.
Belfry is the sort of book that once you have read it, you will probably fall into one of two camps; the first being that this book doesn’t really offer anything new; the second is that it is a wonderful piece of gothic horror. I am firmly in the second camp, mainly as there is really not that much original stuff out there and also the storytelling is perfectly paced and weighted, giving an almost sensual tension as you wait to find out if your early suspicions bear fruit.
In today’s multi-part, built for the TPB stories that seem to require more and more of my hard-earned cash, its great to see that there are still quality one shots being produced that encapsulate the mixed media that are comic books.
Writing – 4.5 Stars
Art – 5 Stars
Colors -5 stars
Story / Art / Cover: Gabriel Hardman