Good old human nature; when we are told “Don’t do…..” we try our hardest to ignore this simple warning and go ahead and just do what we want. In this tale, we have a group of teens who are warned off a video tape but in their need to see something racy, they steal the tape head of home and watch the horrors unfold.
Writer Pat Shand, on a spring break of sorts from his work on the ongoing Grimm Fairy Tales book, crafts a tale in which, well to put it simply, isn’t that full of terror. The problem isn’t his alone however; the format of a Zenescope book means that you get a bit of blurb telling you, in their ongoing books, what’s happened before. Here, the blurb is there, but pretty much gives the twist away. Still, there is enough in the story idea to work around that. But unfortunately that is not what happens. Instead, we get a story that hits all the beats as described by the blurb. Even the normally fun dialogue that Shand is capable of is non-existent, in its place is a stereotypical script for stereotypical characters.
Marc Rosete is a bit of a Zenescope veteran and as such, you pretty much know what you are going to get. Is that a good thing? Well, that depends on the reader. For me, I look for the art to lift an uninspiring story. Unfortunately, the staid lines and lack of any real movement through the various panel set ups gives the book a complacent look. I understand that the square panels on certain pages are meant to look like we are watching the video from the characters point of view, which I guess shows a level of versatility, but doesn’t help the story by giving it such an uniformed appearance for large parts. Colors are provided by a couple of people, Marco Lesko and Valentina Cuomo. Both do an ok job, the fact that for the much part you may not be able to tell the difference from after page 11, is either a job well done or another nod to complacency, depending on your point of view.
This volume of Tales of Terror started well, but has kind of fallen at the scary hurdle recently. Whilst I am sure that there are outside impacts, the glut of horror titles that seem popular at the cinema for example, shouldn’t detract from a Terror book. Sure, it can be hard to gauge what is acceptable for a varied readership, but when the most horrifying thing in the book is that the gang are watching a VHS tape and not a Blu-ray or even a DVD you know that you may have missed the mark. Zenescope will have to hope that if I say “Don’t buy this book”, that human nature prevails.