From writer Tate Brombal (Barbalien: Red Planet; House of Slaughter) and artist Nick Robles (The Dreaming: The Waking Hours) comes a tale of biblical apocalypse and coping with longstanding trauma in Behold, Behemoth #1. Featuring lettering by Andworld Design, this opening chapter spills a box of puzzles pieces and only begins to put some together, all while miring most of this unsettling story in a dark mystery. With a tight, unnerving script and brilliant atmospheric art, this is one of the most engaging first issues of 2022.
“Greyson’s world is crumbling following his brother’s sudden and mysterious death. His sleepless nights are haunted by vivid nightmares of a terrifying monster, pushing him to the brink of losing both his sanity and his job as a social worker. But he’s truly shaken to the core when his newest case—a young orphaned girl named Wren—is found at the scene of a brutal murder, just hours after first meeting Greyson. The line between nightmare and waking life blurs as Greyson soon discovers that the monster from his dreams might just be real—a mythical, ancient beast that is bringing about the end of the world, with shocking connections to both him and Wren…”
Writing & Plot
Tate Brombal crafts a script with a special kind of horror mystery in Behold, Behemoth #1. Like a biblical mixture of Jacob’s Ladder and any sort of amnesia-murder story, this issue posits that the reality being seen can’t really be trusted – and that someone and something is causing this series of mass murder. All of these roads lead to the building apocalypse in the story’s background. Greyson, our main protagonist, is haunted by the death of his brother and plagued by nightmare visions and bouts of amnesia. The trajectory of his already disparate existence is altered even more drastically when he meets a young girl named Wren, who is directly tied to Greyson’s psychosis, a series of grisly mass murders, and this comic’s ever-encroaching apocalypse. Brombal sews together these enticing plot elements to create a chilling and fascinating tapestry of horror/mystery that presents more questions than answers. Brombal’s layering of religious life experience with the early life trauma is deeply poignant, and makes for a compelling anchor for fantastical elements. This comic’s biblical apocalypse approaches with a frightening relevance; exasperated news anchors describe nigh-impossible disasters with increasing amounts of disbelief. Their broadcasts are intercut with megachurch “fire and brimstone” sermons warning of the coming storm. Brombal’s deliberate pacing gives this comic the feel of a supernatural drama rather than an outright horror story, and allows for the story’s individual moments to leave a more lasting impression on the reader. Behemoth is off to a brilliant start thanks to Brombal’s writing chops alone, and the wait for the next chapter is going to be a long one.
Just as impressive – if not even more so – as Brombal’s script is Nick Robles’s visual work in Behold, Behemoth #1. One of the most recognizable artists working in the industry today, Robles brings his heavy lines and detailed animations to work in this atmospheric supernatural thriller. He effortlessly cuts from the more realistic scenery to the nightmare sequences with a consistent feel, mainly due to the aesthetic he crafts for this comic. While his character designs, sets, and penciling overall is highly impressive, it’s his color work here that really pulls the whole atmospheric experience together. Every page has a sense of gloom about it due to Robles’s unique coloring and use of lighting. Daylight scenes are presented in a sort of unsettling yellow, as if cast by an ill sun. Most of the scenes in the comic take place in the dark, and as such are lit by pale moonlight and television screens. This comic feels like walking through a night terror, and it’s the perfect visual experience that could be rendered from Brombal’s script. Robles’s panel and page sequencing is also outstanding. He constantly bends and breaks the standards for what readers would expect from comic direction, with panel lines that bleed and disappear but still retain a semblance of structure. The sequences where reality breaks off into Greyson’s realm of nightmares are brilliant, and show off Robles’s skill as an artist of the imagination. The lettering from Andworld Design is dynamic and unique, with hazy word balloons and SFX work that blends into the overall artwork while adding more texture to the reading experience. Overall, Behemoth is graced with brilliant atmospheric and imaginative visuals from one of the most talented artists in the business.
Behold, Behemoth #1 is a complex and deeply intriguing start to this new supernatural thriller. Tate Brombal’s script evokes hints of films like Jacob’s Ladder and Stigmata, all while being utterly unique in its form. Insightful and tense, Brombal pens a first chapter that poses a lot of questions that will no doubt be fascinating to watch be answered. Nick Robles’s art is a brilliant combination of his usual outstanding animation with his eye for nightmarish sequences and unique direction. Be sure to grab this debut issue when it hits shelves on November 2nd!