There is an urban legend that tells that a satanic cult performed various dark rituals, including human sacrifice with the hope of opening a portal directly to hell. Now 20 years later, the last remaining cultist returns to the Ohio woods with a dark companion by his side, the evil entity known as the Shadow Man.
I have to admit, I am not a big horror film fan. I find them too similar to gain any true enjoyment from them. There is always an act that allows us to see the monster; always a young person, normally female, that has some connection to the previous dark doings and finally, always a wolf in sheep’s clothing. All the above feature prominently in this first issue from Zenescope, which bravely declares itself “For Mature Readers”.
Written by President and Chief Creative Office Joe Brusha the story meanders along as you would pretty much expect it to be honest. First issues are all about the setup and Brusha has his template and hell be damned, he isn’t going to stray that far from it. The characters act in a manner that clearly diminishes the ability to use common sense in any way which shows, perhaps, a lack of creative spark. I would have liked to see Brusha work harder to move his characters around to reach their prescribed points in the story.
Art is provided by Allan Otero whose work fluctuates throughout the book. At times his figure work is quite strong and at others it seems to melt in to the colors. Where I think Otero does excel is the less is more approach to the faces of the characters, especially Sandra, the heroine of the piece, with delicate inks Otero lets the colors do the work for him adding depth to the art and to the emotions played out through any panel that features Sandra. The colors are fantastic. Colorist Fran Gamboa has been working on Zenescope books for a while now, but I don’t think I have ever seen his use of colors work as effectively as it does in this issue.
I am somewhat on the fence with this book. I am not a horror fan and the writing does seem a tad stereotypical for this type of thing. But somewhere between the writing, the strong art and the fantastic colors my curiosity has been piqued; piqued enough to give the second issue a try.