PREVIEW: Pumpkinhead #1 (of 5)

“For each of man’s evils, a demon exists.”

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PUMPKINHEAD #1 (of 5)
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Blacky Shepherd/Kyle Strahm (Back-Up Story)
Colors by Thiago Ribeiro
Letters by Troy Peteri
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

What You Need to Know:
“For thirty years, the demon of vengeance has been still, its corpse buried in a pumpkin patch graveyard in the hills. But when a reckless driver accidentally kills a pair of children, the creature is called up once more. This time, though, the monster’s intended target is protected by a cruel backwoods crime family. They hatch their own supernatural plans for dealing with Pumpkinhead. For each of man’s sins, a special demon exists, and when seven infernal creatures roam the hills and the hollows, no one -guilty or otherwise – is safe.” – Dynamite Entertainment

What You’ll Find Out:
A reckless driver hits and kills two children deep in the woods of Appalachia, and he’s indifferent to what he’s done. He waits impatiently for his father to retrieve him from the hollows. Dad, it seems, is a crime boss and no one is going to keep “junior” down.

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But something even darker and sinister is looming on the horizon.

The father of the dead children is ready for vengeance. Despite local law enforcement’s effort to talk with him, he is determined to take matters into his own hands – and an old, wizened crone has all the answers that the grieving father needs.

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What Just Happened:

When Pumpkinhead hit the theaters years ago, it wasn’t expected to be a hit. But it’s since become a cult classic, and it’s a good story too. Backwoods vengeance meets dark, gory and gruesome with some spine-tingling moments thrown in for good measure.

Writer Cullen Bunn has channeled DC’s classic Chamber of Secrets and House of Mystery here but with a more malevolent tone. I had to re-read the issue a second time to catch all of the nuances of each character and some of the more subtle creepy moments I missed in my first quick read-through.

The art by Blacky Shepherd is extremely conducive to the story. It’s light on background, but heavy on character. It draws you in without any distractions, focusing on the action at hand. Thiago Ribeiro’s colors embolden the dark theme created by the artwork.

I hesitate to rate this book higher because, in the horror genre, you’ve got many cliches – this storyline has probably been seen before in horror comics, just with different characters. It’s the artwork specifically and the quality of Bunn’s writing that makes it stand out.

Pumpkinhead #1 is worth the $3.99 cover price. It provides all the entertainment you’d expect from a high-quality comic book.

Rating: 7.9/10

Final Thoughts:
Pumpkinhead #1 is a compelling read. Stories like this are often predictable, but the creepy vibes are there. Both the artwork and writer Cullen Bunn provide the chills in abundance. This is definitely a series worth checking out…but leave the lights on while you read.

There are three variant covers for this comic. Cover (A) is by Kelley Jones; (B) is a photo cover and (C) is by Ken Haeser.


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