From the creators of The October Faction, Steve Niles and Damien Worm, comes a new horror tale, Brynmore! Recently divorced and sober, Mark Turner has returned to his hometown looking for a second chance. He'll rebuild the old church into a new home... if the locals let him. But Turner Island has a secret, one tracing back to when it was named after Mark's ancestors. Who, or what, is Brynmore?
Good horror comics are often difficult to write. Fear is the anticipation of the unknown, a moment in which our brain fills our every thought with anticipatory images of what horrible things might just occur if we, say, venture into the darkness. Seeing as how comics hinge on clear visuals being able to communicate story, the theater of the mind often occurs not when the reader is engaging with the material conciously, but instead when their brain flawlessly fills in the gaps between panels. As such, horror comics often rely on shock jock tactics or intensely thematic and unspoken messaging in order to unsettle the reader.
Steve Niles has always been a master of both, and is considered by many to be one of the greatest western horror comics’ writer. As such, it was surprising to read Brynmore #1 and find out just how quiet much of it is. It’s story relies on a third person narrator to describe the historical background of our main character, Mark Turner, and the issue spends most of it’s page count preforming simple, quiet setup that endears readers quickly to the stunning artwork by Damien Worm with Alyzia Zherno.
What will no doubt draw readers in the most is the visuals. It’s hazy, dynamic, and cartoony enough to be beautiful while retaining just enough realism in its structure and presentation to be believable. It visual exists in this in-between point between a comic book and a hazy dream, and it adds a lot to the reader’s emotional understanding of where Mark Turner is in his life. The story follows his return to the island his family had discovered in the 1700s. Waiting for him there is a run-down church he’s hellbent on fixing up, as well as a family curse everyone in the town seems to be fearful of besides for him. It’s on this island, and in the dank halls of a fallen church, that Mark attempts to hide from his divorce and failures of a father.
The book is not as miserable as described, Niles balancing out Turner’s despair with some side characters that help shine a light on the dynamics of his personality. Besides for what’s mentioned up above, the story features very little physical horror, besides for a last page reveal. Instead, this book sets up its character and atmosphere as something dark and ominous, creating an experience that’s both intriguing as well as uncomfortable for the reader. While some more meat on the bones of this book would have been nice, it does just enough and teases something big enough to drag readers over to a second issue with intrigue and excitement.
Brynmore #1is surprisingly light on plot or details, the promise of its ominous narrative lying within its vague ideas, stunning art, and the trust many readers will have in Steve Niles due to his past work.
Brynmore #1: Churches & Curses
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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