Man, it seems like it has been ages since I’ve gotten to sit down and study and read some comic books. Life has been plenty busy recently and finally slowed down long enough for me to (catch my breath and) relax with some new literature and scribble down some thoughts on it so I can finally have something to contribute to the CM.
“Legends of the Night” is a budding new comic series that takes an ambitious dive into the horror-suspense genre. The refreshing thing about the various LOTN books that I’ll be reviewing is that they’re all completely different subject matter, so if a certain book didn’t immediately speak to you, the subsequent one you read very well could.
The LOTN team (Karl White) has a well thought-out and intricate back story that dictates the logic and actions that go on within their universe. That ethos draws on well established theological origin stories but takes an interesting twist on them to make an altogether unique series of stories. If you couldn’t tell, I was really impressed with their “Mythos” book (it’s probably been my favorite thus far), and I’ll get to it more in a later review, but for now let’s focus on the “Predation” book and we can take a stab (haha! Unintentional pun) at trying to tie it all back to the other stories later on.
“Predation” is a black and gray comic that uses red as the accent color, obviously for any horror comic, you probably aren’t going to go wrong with a focus on red. The book is narrated from the third person perspective, and you get a sprinkling of dialogue here and there, but the main driver of the story is the action of the imagery and the use of the accent color. I contend that one could cut all text out of this book and still know exactly what’s going on because of the consistency and flow the frames follow; that directly speaks to the strengths of the visual team. The extenuated red really pops off the page, obviously a majority of it will be blood, but the theme color goes further than that to help drive the pages and target the reader’s eye in on specific portions of the story. If gore isn’t your thing the story and non-gore elements of the art is still worth a glance from the squeamish.
This particular story is focused on a werewolf predator-prey interaction that takes on an early twist as to who the victim will be (spoiler alert, turns out the victim isn’t the werewolf, quite a shocker, I know). The majority of the frames are action shots of the various stages of chase, great angles and positioning, timely close-ups, and careful detail is given to all portions of the story to develop and move the plot forward. These aspects help drive the feel of the story of panicked and rapid.
Ordinarily an average person’s reaction would be to want any person being hunted to get away from the werewolf, but the well thought out character selection by the author has given us a morally superior reason to want the exact opposite, to want the werewolf to win. A simple point or two from narration on page one sets it all up. If you want to know why you should be rooting for the wolf, maybe you should pick up the copy.
Something that often gets overlooked in entertainment is the need for balance in a story, and for horror, the balance is provided juxtaposing humor in brief interludes between the action sequences. There was a point when a cliché was forced into the fairly natural story flow; “Red Riding Hood” and the “Big Bad Wolf” getting mentioned overtly in the dialogue was what caused it, and even though it was a little insistent upon itself (as most clichés are), but I think the irony that the statement held at that point in the story, created a humorous moment, one of those moments we generally groan at. Another humorous moment is provided by the facial features of one of the characters in the latter part of the story after a car wreck. The look on the surviving character’s face and then his subsequent bolting from the scene of the accident as opposed to trying to help anyone so that he could save himself, it really fit with his desperate state of mind, but also provided a bit of absurd humor.
In closing, the average werewolf story has been done; I’m sure most of us could sit down and write one up in no time. “Predation”, however had a few differences that broke the traditional werewolf story up enough to stand out as a unique work in its own right. It gave a fresh perspective on the genre, while sticking to the core elements that kept the chase exciting and the action going. The book as a whole works, and was a good read. It might not be as enjoyable a read the second time through, because you’d already know what happens so the major plot point will never develop beyond that (just like rereading a mystery will never be the same when you already know “who done it”), but the subtleties within the remainder of the story remain enjoyable well past the additional readings. I’m glad to have been selected to review these works, I’m glad to be back writing again and look forward to getting more reviews out in the not too distant future.
Legends Of The Night: Predation is available at www.legendsofthenight.com. For a modest fee, you can read a good story and support an up and coming creator!
~ Cap ~