The Neighbors #1
From Boom Studios comes a new horror series zteeped in Irish and English folklore and mythology. Criticically acclaimed author Jude Ellison S. Doyle (Maw) joins artist Letizia Cadonici (House of Slaughter), and colorist Alessandro Santoro (Bloom) to tread new ground in this changeling horror story.
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"When Janet and Oliver Gowdie move to a quaint mountain town, their daughter Casey becomes part of a horrific chain of events revealing that their neighbors are anything but what they seem.
Soon an unsettling old woman named Agnes Early fixates on Janet and Oliver's other daughter-2-year-old Isobel.
It becomes clear that it's impossible to know who to trust... or who is even still human..."
The Neighbors #1 is a promising start to Boom’s brand-new horror series. From the jump, this issue oozes a horror atmosphere rooted stylistically in mid-80s horror novels. Whether or not this was intentional on behalf of the creative team is unknown, but it works very well as a hook into this first issue.
The biggest turn-off to readers taking their chance on this series will be its narrative style. It’s very in line with ‘new-age’ horror comics, which leads to inference and concept more than direct narration to learn about the world. This is neither a good thing nor a bad thing; it is simply a stylistic choice. It works well for this first issue, as the subject matter is much more profoundly than creepy neighbors. Contemporary themes of transgenderism, social isolation, and the fear of persecution haunt this book in a way that generates significant unease. We only learn the necessary details about Janet, Oliver, and their daughter Casey, lying down some socially charged themes with finesse and subtly.
All of this is thanks to a profoundly realistic and human set of main characters that navigate the complications of family life in the modern day with honesty. Not knowing everything about everyone but understanding all their little fears builds an illogical stir of dread in the reader. The issue ends in such a way that not highlights the wishes and complications of Oliver’s relationship with Casey but ends with a ‘What the hell’ level cliffhanger to drag the reader onto the next issue.
So far, the dynamics between our family are far more interesting than the mythology of the book’s folk horror, which is given so much life by Letizia Cadonici’s art. Their pencils are very loose and expressive, illustrating both the mundane and horrific with equal expertise. Alessandro Santoro’s colors add a near-dreamlike haze over the pencils, adding to the book’s atmosphere. While the last page is ripe with spoilers, pay close attention to the masterful color shift utilized on that page, as it is a brilliant way of communicating plot events through color.
THE NEIGHBORS #1 is a promising start to what may wind up being one of the most haunting horror comics this year from Boom Studios. With a folk-horror hook and its contemporary themes, this issue is just the right mix of uneasy and endearing needed to enrapture readers everywhere.
The Neighbors #1: Dark Beginnings
- Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
- Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 7/107/10