reflection

An atmospheric, complex, and superbly intriguing opening chapter to yet another winner in Vault Comics' horror lineup.
Writing/Plot
Pencils/Inks
Colors
Lettering

Review: I WALK WITH MONSTERS #1 Is An Irresistible & Bloody Mystery

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From writer Paul Cornell, artist Sally Cantirino, colorist Dearbhla Kelly and letterer Andworld Design comes cone of the most promising and intriguing starts to a horror comic in recent memory. “I Walk With Monsters” #1 is a quiet and dark comic that bleeds (literally and figuratively) with character drama and mystery. With a nuanced script and pitch-perfect visual work, this could easily be one of the best horror comics of the decade if it can keep up this momentum.

“In Jacey’s past is the Important Man who took away her brother. Now Jacey has David, who sometimes transforms into a terrifying beast. Together, they’ve found a way to live to hunt, sniffing out men who prey on the vulnerable. But Jacey and David are about to run into the Important Man again.”

Writing & Plot

Paul Cornell throws readers right into the world of “I Walk With Monsters” #1 by picking up the shapeshifting elephant in the room and shoving it in the reader’s face in all its monstrous and bloody glory. David’s bestial transformation is this comic’s most obvious and theatrical draw, so eschewing the classic build-up to the monster in favor of an immediate introduction is a great way to then focus on the characters, their relationship, and the backstory at the heart of this series. Cornell’s script uses ultimately very few words, and the ones he uses convey very little in terms of the larger plot. He’s focused very much on visually exploring Jacey and David’s relationship, and it works out brilliantly. Cornell understands how the comics medium works, and as such there is absolutely no exposition or even discussion of the larger plot here. There are hints in the quiet two-syllable word conversations between Jacey and David as to what their relationship is and wat they do, but for the most part Cornell leaves it up to the audience to explore the truths behind the story for themselves. The quiet and minimalistic scripting is submerged in this comic’s haunting atmosphere and sense of dread.

Art Direction

The pencils of Sally Cantirino in “I Walk With Monsters” #1 offer a rough-hewn but highly detailed and appropriate visualization of the world this story lives in. Her style is among the weird but intriguing styles often seen in horror comics today, comparable to the work of Jeff Lemire or Gabriel Ba. The monster design in here is also really, really good. There’s an almost sketchbook quality to the work that works perfectly for the quiet, desolate horror world this comic inhabits. Her panel direction offers solid horror direction, cutting to and away from the horror and revelations in a way that builds tension. The colors from Dearbhla Kelly are stunning, painting the panels in murky shadows and autumnal colors. Hers is a color palette becoming more and more common in modern horror comics, as it’s similar to the aesthetic in Harrow County and the recent TKO series Redfork. This isn’t a negative however, as it’s an effective choice that fits horror comics of this type spectacularly well. The lettering from Andworld Design has a similar effect as Cantirino’s art. It’s a rough but extremely fitting style. The font looks as though the letterer tied a bunch of sticks together in the shape of letters and called it good. I swear I mean this as a good thing, because it seriously works. The atmosphere cultivated in this comic’s visuals is murky and cold, and it’s the perfect tone for this story.

“I Walk With Monsters” #1 is a mysterious horror intro that delves on human trauma even more than it does its monstrous main attraction. Paul Cornell’s script chooses few words and no exposition to allow the reader to become in the story’s mystery. The visuals from Sally Cantirino and Dearbhla Kelly wash the visuals in detail and a cold autumnal horror atmosphere. This is a stellar opening issue to this horror comic series, and one I highly recommend picking up from your local comic shop on 11/25.

 

Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.