Written: Chuck Dixon
Penciled: Kevin West
Inked: Bob Almond/Dan Davis
Colored: Tony Avina
Lettered: Wes Abbott
So, I’m still waiting for the typical Freddy type horror story. These comic books seem to be a milder version of what I know Freddy to be.
Jade is still chugging coffee and now, has added soda that’s chocked full of caffeine and sugar plus, she’s taking stay awake pills. She’s even doing research on sleep deprivation.
None of this can keep her awake forever. She eventually does fall asleep, as they all do, and runs into the mysterious little girl again.
She wakes up in the car with her father. They are on their way to the hospital. He wants a doctor to look at the slash marks on her back (left by Freddy last issue). While at the hospital, they stop by the children’s ward to look for the mysterious little girl. Jade is convinced that since the girl wears a white hospital gown, they will find her there. They don’t. There’s no one admitted there fitting her description and without a name there’s just no chance of knowing where she may be.
After the doctor visit, Jade and her Dad go have coffee and talk about Freddy. He tells her that in his military training he learned about how to deal with sleep deprivation and mental toughness in general, and that he may be able to help her.
Later, Jade hooks up with Kaylee after school. They discuss what to do about finding the little girl. They decide that Jade will go to sleep and look for her in her dream and set an alarm to wake her up. If the alarms don’t work, Kaylee is supposed to wake her up.
So, Jade goes to sleep and finds this little girl. They finally get to have a conversation and Jade asks her where she goes when she’s not appearing in dreams. The little girl says “I see you”. Jade is basically like, “Yeah that’s great but, where are you?” The kid repeats herself.
At the same time, Jade starts to sink into the ground as if it were quicksand and ends up at her brother’s grave site…with Freddy.
She starts believing she can fight him using the information her Dad shared with her but, Freddy clearly proves that it’s his turf and he’s in charge.
Suddenly, Kaylee appears and tries to attack Freddy. And she becomes our only victim of the issue.
Jade wakes up to alarms going off in her room and Kaylee dead, hacked and slashed, left to bleed in the chair in front of her bed.
The police are called, of course, and they take Jade to the hospital. Now, you might be thinking why don’t they take her to the police station. We’ve got a detective on the scene that seems to be familiar with what is going on.
While at the hospital, they pass by the ICU (I see you) and THERE is the little girl. She’s practically dead, waiting on a heart transplant, living in a chemical induced coma and only reaches REM sleep every so often.
Jade wants to stay for awhile and her Dad stays with her. Jade drifts off to sleep, leaning on her father’s shoulder. She floats off into a dream. Someone, a man, grabs for her hand. She turns and looks up to see her Dad. He’s in full military deployment gear and ready for war…with Freddy. Together, he intends for them to send Krueger back to Hell.
I’m feeling about 50/50 on this series so far. Freddy is not sarcastic like he is supposed to be. He doesn’t kill enough for me and we don’t see enough of him in general. This is such a focus on Jade and this little girl, I’m waiting for the focus to shift to Freddy, which is who this comic book is supposed to be about. I am going to give it a couple more issues before I give up on it. I’m hoping it will pick up.
Created by: Joe Hill
Written by: Jason Ciaramelia
Artwork: Vic Malhotra
Lettered by: Robbie Robbins
This was an interesting comic book. Although it was the first issue, not a lot happened. As far as it being an introduction issue, we really only met the main character and her pig of a boss.
That being the case, this review will not be in the normal format.
So, here we go:
This story is the confession of Mallory Grennan. A Private First Class in the Army who has returned home from deployment in Iraq. A deployment, I might add, that she is not completely proud of.
This is a tough chick. Seriously. She can hold her own against any man. But, it seems that just like anyone with a conscience, regret finally gets the better of her once she returns home. Let’s just say she wasn’t a banner person while she was deployed.
She’s also the daughter of an Army Vet. A medic that served in Vietnam. She kinda seems to have this thing about not wanting yet needing his approval but, here’s the thing…she got home just in time to bury him. So, no judgment day for her.
Now, she has her old job back at the local VFW where all the men who drink there knew or served with her Dad and her boss, a huge chauvinistic pig who is married and has four kids, is constantly trying to get her into bed and has been since before she went to Iraq.
All of this info takes up almost the whole first issue with the exception of the thumbprint.
Mallory gets an envelope in her mailbox (it wasn’t mailed, it was placed there) and all that is in it is a piece of paper with a thumbprint on it.
She swears up and down she recognizes the thumbprint but can’t quite place it. And whoever sent it seems to be taunting her.
It’s a good start to a story. We get just enough about our character to get a feel for who she is but, not bogged down in details such as what her best friend’s cousin’s boyfriend’s brother’s dog’s name is like Stephen King tends to do. (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Stephen King. But, we all have to admit, it takes the man 400-900 pages to set up a character description because he tells us useless details like what the character was wearing on a Tuesday forty years before the story took place and that the sweater had a tiny insignificant snag in the elbow of the sleeve.)
We also get right to the story and the suspense instead of having to wait until the second or third issue, which seems to sometimes happen.
We are being told the story from Mallory’s point of view, which I like because it’s a nice change from just reading a story.
The artwork, on the other hand, is not my favorite. It’s not very detailed, except for the thumbprint. It’s very dark with lots of negative space being used. Truly not my favorite style. It’s also very monotone. Sort of like the military, how everything kind of looks the same.
The bad news is, I have to get online and search for the second issue of this series because I found this in the bargain bin at Vintage Stock. So, I’m not sure when the review of #2 will be up but, I will be working on getting ahold of that.
Thanks for reading!!!
Created/Written: Raven Gregory
Pencils: Marcio Abreu, Novo Malgado
Colors: Mark Roberts, Michael Garcia
This comic book was written in a very interesting fashion. The narrator, our killer, is telling us the story from their point of view however, the images portraying said character vary greatly, letting the reader picture this tale being one that could possibly involve anybody they know. This does give a type of introspective aspect to the story. It’s almost like it’s in some sort of voice-over style, like in movies.
While in the past I have given FULL synopses of each comic book I review, I found this one to be a plausible and realistic scenario and, therefore, I’m not going to throw EVERYTHING out there for you. I watch/read a lot of true crime and have for well…a VERY long time. I can tell you that, while this is a story or horror fiction, it definitely has the markers of what some of the killers I read about embody.
Here we have an author. One desperately trying to stay at the top of their game. The Best-Seller List of authors is hard competition, ya know? And these people stay on this list for years and years, making it even more difficult for “new blood” to get a shot at the recognition and sales. People are less likely to change what they do, buy, etc. if what they are already doing is working well, for them.
So, a struggling author threatened with being forgotten and thrown by the wayside at every turn. Then, there’s an experience and a book that follows that changes this author’s life forever. Murder…and the story of how it happened. It’s such a successful manuscript that they do it again…and again. The victims? All authors on the Best-Seller List.
Of course, eventually, the police catch on to the series of murders. Investigations, interrogations, stabbings, strangling, drugs, sex, arson…it’s a regular smorgasbord of crime fiction attributes. Smart cops too. But, there’s always one that is a little TOO good, isn’t there? Sometimes, good intuition can put you in bad situations.
So, normally, this is where I tell you exactly what happens…to everyone. But, not today.
No. This was too good a story for me to spoil this time. I thought it was excellently written. The curiosity factor was forever there the entire time I was reading. Having seen and read so much about true crime and what criminals really do and why just made this story seem that much creepier. I mean, it’s always scarier and more impactful when it could “really happen”, right? (I’m speaking of probability, not possibility. Just because something CAN happen doesn’t mean it’s likely that it WILL happen.) The pathology behind serial killers and their motivation, though they may seem complicated, is usually less impressive than what we imagine and Gregory really gets into that mindset here. Murder is often a selfish crime but, serial murder is a maniacal solution to a recurring need. This story fully embraces being in the mind of a killer and takes you along with them on their journey of death.
The artwork in this issue reminds me a lot of the artwork and imaging used for the video game LA Noire. It’s got this 1940’s, clean edge kind of color scheme and yet, a modern character style and appeal. It’s very conducive to the suspenseful and thriller-like nature of the story because it adds a sense of continuity and comfort that gets shocked into the harsh realities of the killer. Bringing together realistic images and fictional frights, this artist was an excellent expressionist of the story.
A great issue and a great read!
All writing and artwork done by Dan Schaffer
Well, here we are. The last issue of White.
Willa is on top of a buoy, out in the middle of the ocean, holding on for dear life as Veronica, our great white shark with some anger control issues, swims angrily around her. Willa has already been bitten in the calf and is waiting for a rescue. She has a SAT phone that she has been using but, there’s been some problems with who she’s been able to contact.
And we pick up from there…
Sitting atop the buoy, Willa desperately dials the only phone number programmed into the SAT phone, The Coast Guard Training Center at Port Elizabeth. She gets a person that doesn’t know who she is or anything about her situation. Willa gets, shall we say…quite vocal about her situation and uses a number of choice phrases to communicate that information. The person on the phone warns her that she’ll disconnect if the foul language continues. Now Willa goes off. And the person on the other end of the line ends the call.
Willa hears a beep. It’s the SAT phone. The battery is getting low. It’s at 9%.
She dials again. A different person answers this time. They tell Willa that they are under the impression that the research vessel, The Indigo, has already picked her up and that she is safe. To clear up the confusion, they want to call The Indigo and have Willa hold on the line. Willa adamantly says No to this and explains the battery issue. They tell her that’s fine, to go ahead and hang up and they’ll have The Indigo call her. And then they’re gone. (Now, let’s not ignore the fact that this vessel is supposed to have been there and gone by now. And she’s supposed to believe or rely on the fact that they are going to be so nice as to call her NOW? Yeah okay.)
Just as the call gets ended, Veronica slams into the buoy from below, rocking it back and forth and shaking Willa to her core.
The phone rings.
Willa answers hoping that it’s The Indigo or Maggie or somebody to help her but, it’s some guy named Don Skinner. He works at Madison Films (the film company she just got fired from before the crash) in the Legal Department. She doesn’t know who he is but, he wants to ask her some questions (while she’s still alive, I presume).
He wants her to confirm that she was, in fact, let go PRIOR to the plane crashing. He also wants to know if she’s spoken to anyone, specifically anyone from the media. He also takes the opportunity to inform her that anything and everything related to the plane crash is deemed intellectual property of Madison Films including any and all subsequent trauma any person or persons may incur.
At the complete end of any patience she had left, Willa informs HIM that she was fired because she wouldn’t give in to the sexual harassment and Skinner just replies that she has been notified and hangs up. (This poor girl gets hung up on more than anyone I’ve ever heard of, I mean, wow. She is NOT popular at all right now.)
Then the phone rings again. This time it’s Jay. He explains that they are on their way, they are an hour out and Maggie is off the expedition for good.
Willa, feeling extremely lonely and scared, asks Jay to keep her company while she waits for them. When asked what she wants to talk about she tells him to educate her more about sharks (the more you know about something, the less afraid of it you will be).
They talk for a bit but, then the SAT phone beeps again. The battery is almost dead now.
Now, it gets real. Jay explains that Gregg lost his sponsorship for the expedition that morning. Alan Sack from the film studio called and they cut a deal, movie rights for money. Jay just rubs salt in an open wound when he tells her why he really called her. He was instructed by Gregg to keep her on the phone until the battery dies. No one is going to come for her. They aren’t even coming for her.
Veronica thrusts herself into the buoy, her whole weight crashing into Willa’s only hope for survival. But, it’s too much. Willa falls off into the water.
Willa gathers herself at the surface only to see Veronica charging at her at full speed. Deciding she has no choice, and quite frankly, is extremely pissed off now, she faces Veronica head on, waiting for the opportunity. And it rapidly presents itself. Just as the shark is about to chomp her in half she rolls to the side, grabs the camera on Veronica’s dorsal fin and rips it off.
She tries to cling to the buoy but, she is too weak and passes out, falling into the water.
She wakes up some time later in a speed boat…with Maggie. Maggie tells her after she was let go from the expedition, she couldn’t leave Willa out there to die…so she came to get her by herself. They have a meeting point with a larger vessel to get them the rest of the way home.
Maggie also explains that, with what she knows, what Willa has experienced and the benefits of being wealthy and privileged, she has an army of lawyers at her disposal, just waiting to rip Gregg, Jay and the film studio to shreds.
And off they go towards the sunset.
I enjoyed this series immensely. It was informative, contained some serious cliffhangers and featured some incredible artwork. Starting with the first issue, I was eager to find out what happened next. Again, my only real complaints are the existence of what seemed to be a public service announcement about the shark research that goes on and the lack of actual shark bite action. Other than that, it is truly a compelling series with much to offer.
Written: Billy Hanson
Pencils: Joe Sanchez Diaz
Colors: Mark Lesko
Letters: Fabio Amelia
Story by Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini, Billy Hanson
When I first saw the title of this issue I immediately thought of Orson Welles’ radio broadcast, War of the Worlds. (Ha! You probably thought I was going to say the latest movie version…nope. The radio broadcast is much more classic. You can listen to it on YouTube here.) Anyways, that being my first thought, I assumed we would be dealing with an alien invasion and takeover of sorts. Because I expected this subject matter, I was a little unsure as to how this story would go. But I liked it. A lot!
It’s Halloween night. A couple of truckers are gassing up for the long overnight haul. Our lovely red headed femme fatale pumping this gas, warning unknowing dopes not to do whatever they’re about to do, smart ass smile, great body, the usual. (I mean, that’s how ALL my warnings in life come to me, don’t yours? No? Ohhh, well, forget I said that then.)
Our truckers, Larry and Dale (classic!), head off down the road to start their journey. The night shift radio show is broadcasting, rock music all night and news updates on the hour, every hour. (I submit there are a small percentage of people who ACTUALLY listen to the RADIO for NEWS. But that’s just my opinion.)
So, there go the guys, putzing along down the road, chatting each other up about Blondie and how Dale has a crush on “her”. (For those that, I don’t know, have been living under a rock for the last 30+ years, Blondie is a rock group from the 80s, front woman was Debbie Harris, who was considered to be wickedly hot.)
Suddenly, there’s a creature standing in the road. Larry yells out and Dale swerves, trying to maintain control of the truck AND stay on the road. Once he gets the vehicle stopped, he gets irritated, talking about how he hates Halloween and kids with their stupid pranks. (I will say this goes WAY beyond a prank. IF someone had died it could be negligent homicide perhaps. But, not a prank.)
So now, Larry gets mad and gets his gun out. He’s going to go teach this kid a lesson, who is still standing a little ways behind the truck. Larry, approaches the creature and starts to yell and threaten it. By the time he gets to the back of the truck, it’s too late.
A creature, that looks like a cross between the creatures from ALIENS and the stereo-typical depiction of actual “alien beings”, grabs Larry by the neck, lifts him into the night air and engulfs him in a bright blue light. Dale, of course, runs like a bat out of Hell to escape.
Now, we cut to Meredith, a very pretty, dark haired gal who is the voice of the night shift radio show. She sets music to play for a couple, few songs in a row and heads to get coffee. Her production manager bursts in to tell her they have the most outrageous caller on the line and drags her to listen.
It’s Dale. He’s freaking out about a “thing” that killed his friend and there are more coming after him. Hundreds. Maybe thousands. All of them heading to town. He says he’s tried to call the authorities but the lines are down. (Quick question…the lines to the police and fire/emergency rescue are down yet he can call a radio station? OK. Moving on.) He’s requesting that they put the information he’s relayed to them ON THE AIR.
After arguing with the production manager, Meredith reluctantly puts this guy on, thinking it is all just a hoax.
But, then more people call. Frantic people, panicking, talking about creatures killing people, stealing people away, changing them into fellow monsters and a crazy bright blue light. People all over town are running in terror, trying to flee from the monsters coming to get them. There’s even a caller that warns nobody can escape and then shoots herself while on the air. Meredith, though shocked by all of this, continues to broadcast warning, updates and take callers.
Then, a couple Cops show up at the radio station. There’s a tall, skinny guy in aviator sunglasses (so funny) and a shorter, larger man who is doing all the talking. They want to Meredith to cease broadcasting at once. They say that the broadcast is causing a town wide mass hysteria and people all over are getting hurt.
However, both station employees refuse to stop the broadcast. Meredith is in the booth, giving a play by play to her listeners as the police kick in the door. Once they enter the room, Meredith shuts everything down and gets ready to “face the music”.
But the “aviator cop” has something else in mind and as she reaches her hands out to be cuffed, the cop changes into a monster. But, at that same time, Meredith changes into one of the monsters as well! And she is ridiculing “our kind”, saying we’re the easiest to kill off, how we believe everything we hear, etc. And she slaughters everyone in the station.
Then, it’s morning. Meredith is back to “normal” and telling everyone (everyone who is still alive, we see bodies, car crashes and the remnants of mayhem everywhere) that she hopes they enjoyed their Halloween Special the night before, that it was just a fake broadcast for entertainment purposes and there are no monsters taking over the town. She thanks them for listening and tells them to stay tuned for the morning show and signs herself off.
I thought this issue was pretty good. The twist at the end is always something I like. I thought the story was well written and flowed easily. It’s a good story, aliens invading and it being broadcast on the radio to warn people and it turns out to be a show and not real news. It’s an interesting idea. This is a story though, that from the time the warnings start going out over the air and the cops get to the station, I would have liked a little more detail or something to make that transition in the story smoother. It just kind of happens. And it’s difficult to believe that only CERTAIN lines in the town were down.
That being said, the artwork in this issue is awesome. Bold and full of color and the right attributes of the monsters are showcased with a great color selection. They are supposed to stand out and be noticed, not blend in with the rest of the characters, and they definitely got that right. The characters are drawn well enough that we don’t need a lot of character introduction or details, we pretty much get an idea of who they are by the facial expressions and the way they speak.
I still remain a loyal fan of Zenescope and Grimm Tales of Terror. I doubt there will be a time that I don’t really dig these stories.
Written and Illustrated by: Jon Clark
Lettered by: April Brown
Hello again. Today we are going to talk about THIN. Most of America wants to be thin. This tale is no different. An average woman in an average town with an average life. Average, except for her weight. And I suppose that is where we should begin…
Meet Doris Greene. A normal woman, presumably in her forties, married and overweight. She eats a lot. We see this woman destroy an entire bucket of fried chicken while driving herself home…from somewhere. And the poor woman hides how much she eats from her husband, who she catches cheating on her with the skinny accountant they have. (Although she doesn’t SEE them cheating, she walks into her house and HEARS them. And while this little accountant is letting Doris’ husband “take a trip around the world” on his garage work bench, she’s left her infant child sitting outside the door in their car seat. Banner Mom. Someone should give her an award for Mother of the Year.)
And this time, like every other time she feels hurt or sad or happy or anything, she runs out of the house and goes to get more food. It’s obviously humiliating for her. Even the cashiers at the market make fun of her. Feeling completely worthless and ashamed, she sits in the parking lot of the market and gorge herself in whatever junk food she’s purchased.
And then she sees someone she knows. A gal named Lacy. And apparently, she used to be heavy too. Used to be. Lacy is now thin, wearing miniskirts and high heels and living her life with pride. Doris can’t believe it. To lose THAT much weight just seems impossible. Doris asks her how she did it, she begs to know the secret. Lacy hesitates at first but, then gives Doris the address to a doctor, THE doctor.
Doris goes back home and has dinner with her husband. She tells him she has a new plan for losing weight although, he just rolls his eyes and declines to be supportive, saying he’s heard it all before.
The next day, she heads over to the doctor. She arrives at a house, a disheveled, broken looking house, with dogs barking from around the house. (A house!!! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! First red flag. Not a doctor’s office, not even a commercial building, I’m gone.) She knocks on the door and a creepy looking little man with wrinkles, a mustache and glasses, answers the door. (Second red flag.) He asks her if she’s there to buy a dog, he’s a breeder. (Okay, a dog breeder? This is supposed to be a doctor. That would be my third red flag.)
Yet, Doris maintains she got his name from Lacy and she’s there to lose weight and get her husband to love her again. The man tries to send her away but, she refuses and he eventually gives in and lets her enter his home.
He tells her to go downstairs. (Red flag number four). He asks her if she wants any information about the procedure or risks and she tells him no. (Seriously? You want to know nothing? Okay.) Then he has her sign a contract/release form that also has the price (which we don’t find out) at the bottom and hands her a hospital gown and tells her to change while he preps everything.
He straps her to an operating table, gives her something to knock her out and she starts to drift off, counting backwards from ten.
She gets to eight and we see her sleeping. Then, CRASH!!! She hears a loud sound and hears the doctor, “Oh! My heart!” as he collapses to the floor.
She can see the right side of his back. She asks him to respond to her because she’s uncomfortable and still strapped down to the table.
She hears a slurping noise and assumes it’s the doctor responding. But it isn’t.
We see this nasty, worm-like creature start slithering up the sheets of the hospital bed near her legs. It’s reminiscent of the creatures from Tremors, only much smaller. It’s got razor sharp teeth and blood all over it’s head.
We see an open incision on the side of her stomach. There’s a machine with a long plastic pipe leading towards the incision. And we see the worms, one on her and more in the canister of the machine.
And she can’t move.
So far, this is going well. I am curious to see if she gets loose and how. The story seems to move fairly quickly, not wasting a lot of time with needless minor details. I might have liked a little more information as to what was to happen to Doris during the procedure but, I guess that adds to the mystery of it all. The artwork is more of a sketch style. There is color but once again, to magnify the bold, bright red of the blood, everything seems to be more muted. It does help that we know she is unhappy and living a sad existence, which the colors contribute to. But we also get an understanding of the haphazard way she feels and thinks because of the rough sketch type artwork. Still, I prefer more defined art. But, it’s still starting out very well. We’ll see what happens with #2.
Created/Written by: Raven Gregory
Pencils by: Martin Montiel and Novo Malgado
Colors by: Michael Garcia
Letters by: Crank!
This is a different series from Zenescope. While they are the same publishers of Grimm Tales of Terror and this is still a horror comic book, the style of the book is different…at least in this issue. There are no buxom babes with great tans and full curves actually in this issue. IF the “pin-up girl” type sexy chicks in scanty clothes thrust into deadly situations is NOT your cup of tea, you can still get your dose of horror with this particular issue, although, some of the covers for this issue still utilize that art style. Personally, that stuff doesn’t offend me. It’s a preference, a style of art, just like the nude ancient Greek statues or new school versus traditional tattoos, Impressionism, Realism, etc. Comic book art styles widely vary not only by the type of art but, also the colorist that collaborates with each artist. That being the case, it’s nice to explore and experience different artists and their unique styles, even though there are almost always favorites. So, why don’t we explore a little…
This is a grizzly tale of survival, love, loyalty and terror. It’s a gory drama of a father and son, their survival through the worst of times and their undying love for each other.
But first, the lead in…
We join a couple on a date to the movies. They have the whole theater to themselves. It’s not a top dollar place but still, it’s functional. The have purchased tickets to see a horror film called, “The Change”. And this is where our REAL story begins.
It is 2025. Mankind has barely survived extinction. Over the course of ten years a weird virus that reanimates dead people and basically turns them into flesh eating zombies has led to the death of billions of people. The rest of the people go into hiding while the government eventually fights off all the undead using state of the art biological warfare. As humanity starts to rebuild, new laws are put in place to prevent the return of the virus. All the zombies have been destroyed. All but one…
Enter father and son. It’s been three months since the last sighting of any infection. They hear on the radio that the war is over and they are now in a safe zone. Dad doesn’t want to just believe what he hears from the press and the government (imagine that) so he goes outside to check. All is clear and it seems, over time, life is well on it’s way to returning to normal.
The son, David and his father eventually return to their daily living. After the war (the virus outbreak), they have a farm and raised chickens. They hunt for rabbits and such for food as well. In fact, one day, while out doing just that, David hears his father cry out his name and he looks up to find himself face to face with this truly hideous creature. Its flesh is practically gone, all gooey and crimson and drippy looking. It has the nastiest rotted creature teeth you could imagine in what was once a human being. This “thing” has only about half its clothes left clinging to its poisoned body. Its grotesque fingers, scraggly reaching for David.
Dad runs up and whacks it in the side of the face with the stock of his rifle. Instructing David to run home immediately he turns his head. In that moment, the zombie creature lurches forward and bites him at the shoulder. This makes Dad so enraged that he beats the zombie back to death.
David and his father quickly bury the body before anyone else finds out that there has been an attack.
They go back inside the house where the father goes into the bathroom and with a Crocodile Dundee knife, tries slicing and chopping the infected meat from his shoulder. Then his son brings him what looks like a red-hot fire poker and he sears the gaping wound shut as best he can, then puts on a bandage. (Funny how the Dad does all this like it’s nothing, like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Kinda creepy.)
Over time, Dad gets sicker as the infection of the virus takes over his body. Eventually, they sit down and have a talk. Dad explains that there is still a possibility that he will change and they need to prepare. David prepares a room with a table chair in it, as he was told to do.
His Dad sits down and has David tie him tightly to the chair. He further instructs that IF he does change into a zombie or gets loose from the chair and subsequently the room, David must do what needs to be done and hands him a gun.
More time passes and David is tasked with killing his father…but, he doesn’t. His father changes but, David tries to keep life normal. He continues to deliver eggs to the grocery store in town and do the work around the house and shopping. And he spends time with his DAD. He tries to talk to him, play cards and he feeds him.
Eventually, Mr. Young, the grocery store owner, comes to check on them, seeing as how it’s been weeks since the Dad has made an appearance in town. David lies to him, telling him everything is okay and sends him on his way.
Later, David finds a letter his Dad wrote him before he changed. He tells him how much he loves him and that he’s proud of him. He understands why David couldn’t do what needs to be done but, there is another way. He knows that Mr. Young will come to visit. He writes that David should let him in, tell him what’s happened and Mr. Young will take care of it.
But, David doesn’t let him in. And nothing gets done about Dad. After reading the letter David goes to sleep. He wakes up and decides he CAN do this and grabs the gun and heads to the room holding his father.
He opens the door, preparing himself for what he is about to do…but, Dad…is gone. Now, with this infectious zombie running about, all of civilization is, once again, at deadly risk.
Blaming himself, David, weapon in hand, heads outside into the world…alone.
Now, we go back to our couple on their date. The movie (our story) is over, the lights in the theater have come on and they are chatting each other up about the movie. The guy asks the girl is she liked it and she says it was okay but, mentions that the theater smelled funny as they are walking out. As they are leaving they pass the janitor. He walks down the aisle to a few rows in front of where our couple sat. There’s dead bodies on the floor, slumped over in the seats, laying across seats…just everywhere. (No wonder the theater smelled funky. It was obviously more than stale popcorn and flat, spilled soda.)
And so, they have left…and clean up begins.
(We are left with a “To Be Continued” at the bottom of the last page.)
I really enjoyed this as a first issue in a series. It was very well written and moved along at a great pace but, still provided so much detail. The twists from Zenescope’s writers are always good and they are masters at keeping you on your toes.
The artwork in this issue REALLY brings the idea of humanity on the brink of extinction and mankind trying to rebuild after extreme devastation to life. The colors are practically pale and almost lifeless which just furthers the thought that death is all around. Although it’s not the normal style I am used to I still appreciate the impact it brings to the tale.
All in all, I am very pleased with this first issue and I’m looking forward to getting deeper into the series.
All writing and artwork by: Dan Schaffer
Poor Willa Hambra. Floating aimlessly on a broken plane wing out in the middle of nowhere, trapped by a psychotic, rogue shark named Veronica. She’s still bleeding from the bite in her calf that Veronica gave her. This poor girl can’t seem to catch a break. Let’s see what happens…
She’s curled up on the wing, still talking to Maggie on the SAT phone, crying about how she just knows she’s going to end up Veronica’s dinner.
Worried that she will end up like the other passengers of the plane crash, she quickly spirals downward into semi-hysterics. She’s yelling at Maggie about how their “shark cam” on Veronica’s dorsal fin is going to catch her being turned into shreds of human meat on film and she’s going to turn into a “thrill story” of sorts, being a viral video on some teenage boy’s YouTube channel.
Maggie assures her that she is going to survive this whole ordeal and then, she will be able to put her OWN story out there. There will be people from the Press and all kinds of organizations that will want to talk to her.
Willa gets even more angry and threatens to “out” the whole shark cam experiment, everything she knows and the damage they’ve caused with it. Maggie’s only reply to that is, “I’m counting on it”. (Can this woman get any more arrogant???)
Maggie (who, I will say, I am liking less and less) then starts to explain how there are too many “adrenaline junkies” calling themselves “private researchers” and backed by corporate funding are tagging sharks without any concern for the shark itself OR the repercussions of their actions. She explains that there needs to be more regulations on this kind of research, they need to be stricter and that when Willa’s story gets out, that’ll be what sparks the controversy. (Yay! Who doesn’t want to be the topic of controversy in the scientific community?! My guess would be…Willa?)
Hearing all of this, Willa asks Maggie if she is at all concerned about losing her job once all this gets out and Maggie tells her no, that she can always get another job. This sends Willa into a fit of resentment about Maggie coming from privilege and how she had things so easy and can go get a job at any time. She vehemently points out that life is NOT that easy for HER.
Maggie tries to explain that Willa, at 18, still has many opportunities in her future. This is the point where Willa explains what she was doing on that plane. She got fired for not providing the A-List actor Ryan (now dead from the crash) sexual favors any time he requested. She was fired and put on the first plane back home. She tells Maggie if she wants to study REAL predators, she should study men in Hollywood. (How fitting for the tines right now huh? Interestingly, this issue was published January 2017…before the bulk of the Hollywood news hit.)
Just then. Veronica surfaces again. Maggie tells Willa she can see her on the shark cam. She tells her another smaller shark has entered the area however, he won’t bother Willa because Veronica is there. (Frankly, I think I’d rather deal with a smaller shark that isn’t all pissed off about a camera on it’s back. Maggie’s idea of good news varies dramatically from mine.) Maggie also suggests that IF Willa can get ahold of the camera and yank it off Veronica’s back, she will likely lose interest in her. (Yeah right.)
At that moment, Veronica leaps up through the water, smaller shark in her mouth. She viciously bites this small shark in half and devours it rapidly. Seeing this, Willa is shocked into a calmer state. Staring wide eyed at the animalistic murder happening in front of her, she somberly tells Maggie she doesn’t want to talk to her anymore and hangs up.
Now, alone and feeling utterly hopeless, Willa momentarily contemplates taking her own life by slicing her wrists with one of Veronica’s teeth that got lodged in the wing during a bite attack. Frustration and anger fill her once more and she decides to rebel against her impending doom, screaming at Veronica to go away and leave her alone.
Knowing that her time left on Earth may very well be limited, she uses the SAT phone to call her family to say goodbye. (Does this thing have an eternal battery or something? Geez.) Unfortunately, only her little brother is home to take the call. She doesn’t tell him what’s going on, only that she loves everyone and for him to tell them she called to say that.
Mere seconds after hanging up, Veronica breaks the surface of the ocean, tries to bite the wing again and knocks Willa off by flipping it over. With the SAT phone hanging on her wrist, she quickly swims to a buoy nearby, narrowly escaping Veronica’s ferocious bite as she pulls her feet out of the water.
As she positions herself on the top of the buoy the SAT phone rings. But it’s not Maggie like she expects. It’s some guy named Gregg Weaver, the Captain of the research vessel Maggie is on. Apparently, Maggie had to step away for a while.
And he doesn’t want to help her. This guy is only concerned about whether Willa has spoken to anyone else on that phone…namely, the press. He also worried that she may have the wrong impression of their research, its purposes and the effects of their equipment.
Willa yells at him that it’s their equipment making this shark “nuts” while Gregg maintains it’s the amount of blood and wreckage in the water. He says there is no documented evidence to prove otherwise and his report will only state “facts” such as, blood attracts sharks, and hangs up on Willa.
She’s left on the top of the buoy, hollering into the phone for Gregg to come get her, promising not to tell about the problematic camera.
But no one answers.
I am still really enjoying this story. It keeps you on edge and waiting for the next frame. I love sharks and shark movies and such so again, this is perfect for me. Jaws is a classic horror film in my mind. (But that’s another review.) The artwork continues to amaze as we move through each issue. This whole series reads very quickly and has so much little stuff going on that it is even a good read the second time.
The only thing I have noticed is that this almost seems to be some sort of public service announcement for the protection of sharks during research. It’s kind of like there’s an underlying message in the story. But, that could just be me.
I do think this is s terrific comic book and would recommend it to anyone.
Written by: Chuck Dixon
Penciled by: Kevin West
Inked by: Bob Almond
Colored by: Tony Avina
Lettered by: Wes Abbottt
Although I would classify this issue as an introductory issue, we have to deaths occurring in this issue, one of which takes place in the first two pages. Now, that’s a way to hook me. I love it when we have horror and terror on the first page. With that being said, let’s have a look-see…
We start with the introduction of Brandy Showalter, a high school student. She’s walking down the empty hall at school and stops at a bulletin board announcing the activities cancelations for that day. It’s typical stuff, band practice cancelled, teachers meeting, French club, football practice, etc. It’s a long list. It’s all the days activities. And as she gets down to the bottom of the list, she sees it...her name...Brandy Showalter CANCELLED. (That might put a damper on your day.) Then Freddy Krueger appears and we see her dead body in the next frame. Right after that, we see her sprawled out on her bed in her bedroom, dead, blood splatters everywhere.
Now, cut to our next character, Jade. We meet her as she’s sitting on a couch in the front lawn of her new home with her brother, Bradley. They’ve just moved to the area. They make it clear that, because of their father, they move A LOT. Also, apparently their mother died in a plane crash, five years earlier.
Just then, Jade sees a couple guys wheeling a dead body into a hearse a few houses down from them. A little blonde girl rolls up on a classic, plastic red, yellow and blue Big Wheel trike. She informs the two siblings that the name of the dead girl is Brandy. When Jade asks the little girl what happened, the child tells her, “Freddy.” She then asks her brother if he saw her. He did not. He tells her she must have dozed off. But when she looks back down the street she sees the hearse, it is really there. If the hearse is there, why not the little girl?
Later that night, she, her brother and her father are having a pizza delivery dinner and talking about how they all plan to make this the last move and the first day of school.
Then we see Jade sitting at a desk in a classroom…in her underwear. (Classic dream stemming from anxiety at minimum. Insert eye roll here.) The teacher is obviously very upset, thinking that Jade is pulling some kind of prank. Jade is super mortified and runs out of the classroom. She sees her brother in the hall at his locker and yells out to him…but he doesn’t answer. He closes his locker and walks away.
Our small child from the Big Wheel returns. She tells Jade that he can’t hear her, that he doesn’t know she is there. The child further explains that he is dreaming…as is she. Jade then realizes they are sharing the same dream. And the child disappears.
Jade goes down the hall to find her brother, Brad. She goes down a flight of stairs and she nearly steps in a puddle of something. She can smell it…gasoline. Just then a scarred, burned hand strikes a match.
Jade looks toward the ceiling and see Brad, tied to a desk. He begs for her to help him before “he” comes back. The next thing we see is the lit match falling…and Brad is on fire.
Jade wakes up screaming and runs to her brother’s room to find him burning to death. It’s ruled a suicide and they bury him.
After the funeral, Jade and her father go to get food, they are wanting to avoid their house. Over the meal, Jade’s father prods her, asking if there was anything that Brad mentioned that was bothering him, anything at all, he had to have a reason for starting the fire. Jade gets upset and tells her father it wasn’t suicide. He argues that the fire investigators say there’s no way the fire was an accident. Jade is contemplating telling her Dad about Freddy as she gulps down another cup of coffee. She’s been pounding the caffeine since they got to the restaurant. Her father mentions it and she tells him that she had a dream about Brad the night he died and she doesn’t want anymore of those dreams…implying she’s not planning to sleep. (Quick note: staying up for days at a time takes either a lot of practice and conditioning OR some severe drug use.)
Next, Jade is back at school, gym class. She hands her teacher a doctor’s note stating that she has burned her hand (trying to get to her brother) and csnnot get it wet. They are swimming this particular day. The gym teacher shoves cling wrap at her and tells her to wrap the bandage in plastic wrap and get changed for the pool.
Everyone in class is snickering and laughing at her as she gets in the pool. Frustrated, she starts her laps in the pool. As she’s swimming, all of a sudden, something grabs her foot…it’s a nasty, burned hand with knives on the fingers, yanking and pulling her down under the water. She frantically fights for her life and…BAM!! She wakes up in class, at her desk, soaked by her bottle of water that was on her desk. The teacher tells her to go clean herself up and she leaves.
She decides to skip the rest of the day and go to the coffee shop. She orders four of the strongest coffee they have, black. While there, this chick KayLee comments about the amount of coffee and they start up a conversation. KayLee points out that it’s a little early in the year to be slurping coffee and cramming for finals. And then she says…”Maybe this is about Freddy.”
Jade is completely caught off guard and asks her for confirmation that they are talking about the same guy. They are. Jade inquires about who he is and what he wants. (Can we have a horror plot where those questions AREN’T asked…a little generic and predictable.) KayLee explains the whole Freddy story. That he was a child molester. That the neighborhood parents hunted him down in a mob and burned him alive. And she explains that now he comes back for the teens of the town in their sleep, for revenge.
Jade takes all of this in and the asks KayLee about the small child from the Big Wheel. KayLee doesn’t know who she is or what Jade is talking about. She tells Jade to ask the child herself who she is. (I’m already thinking this small kid is a child version of Jade but, that’s just a guess.) Jade says that she might do that.
Later that night, Jade is watching TV on the couch, still drinking coffee and trying to stay awake. She hears, “Why don’t you go to bed, Kitten?” She replies she comfortable where she is. The male voice says, “Whatever you say, Kitten.”
Now, “kitten” is something she apparently doesn’t hear often. It obviously strikes her as odd. Then he says, “Why don’t I fluff those pillows for you, Jade.”
And with that, we see Freddy behind the couch, slashing at Jade as she screams in terror.
Her father races to her side and asks if she’s okay. She starts crying and trying to explain that it was Freddy, that he comes to them in their dreams, that HE’S the one who killed Bradley.
Her Dad goes to hug her and tell her that’s not possible but, he soon sees that her back is all slashed up, four slashes, like scratches.
He looks at his daughter and says, “You are going to tell me how this happened. You are going to tell me every single detail.”
I know this is the first issue in this particular Nightmare series so, I’m trying to keep an open mind. However, the writing seemed a little bland and slow moving, even though two people die in this issue. The artwork is good. Colors seem to be kept a little muted, in my opinion to emphasize the color of the blood in the murder frames. But, every other page in this comic book is some sort of advertising page. So, half this comic book is commercials, essentially. That’s like watching an hour-long program and only getting thirty minutes of actual show. It was kind of a let down and a little frustrating. I am hoping the next issue will be better. This one was very predictable and didn’t carry a lot of suspense factor to it. So, fingers crossed.
All art and writing done by Dan Schaffer.
So it took almost six months to get this issue. It felt like an eternity. But, here it is. The long awaited Issue #2 of White by Dan Schaffer. I still gotta hand it to this guy, I mean he’s doing all this art, lettering and story line himself, so…let’s cut him some slack.
Just a note too…I found out that since he IS doing this on his own this is all coming out in limited print, hence why I had the hardest flippin’ time finding a copy of issue number 2, it cost a chunk of change for a comic book single issue, but, TOTALLY worth it.
Now, for the new readers, a little about Mr. Schaffer and his art. He uses live models, a Miss Jenny I have deduced by my research, and uses oils which add such a different and lifelike quality to the imagery that is really hard to explain but, so easy to appreciate. This particular medium has a way of capturing textures of the ocean and as I said in my review of the first issue, it has an uncanny ability to capture the texture of the skin of the shark and its movements, the movement of the water, the fear in our main characters eyes. It’s something that is really hard to get out of acrylics or inks it seems. Just a nice enhancement to the whole feel of the entire piece, in my opinion.
So, we still have Willa, Maggie and Jay. Willa has made it back onto the wing safely from the shark that rammed the wing at the end of our last issue. Sharks still circle like hungry vulchers waiting for the dying to actually die.
Maggie still seems to be only MOSTLY honest with Willa, while Jay continues to wield his brutal honesty like a blunt object of rage.
Now, Maggie, the forever researcher, (enter eye roll here) wants to know how many sharks are around in the water at this time. To Maggie this is a very understandable, serious and logical question…to Willa this is the dumbest thing she’s been asked all day…and as a production assistant, she gets asked to do some pretty silly and dumb stuff. So, and with good cause, Willa gets pissed and frustrated because, ya know, Maggie and Jay are the ones in the fancy AND SAFE research facility with all the high tech gear to track all these eating machines prowling around her like she rang the dinner bell. So why are they asking her?
Welllll….it turns out their information and tracking devices just “aren’t that accurate”.
(Okay, break time. Aren’t that accurate??? Then why are they tagging these sharks to begin with? I mean, what’s the point of this study they are conducting then? This seems a little wasteful of grant money but, it’s not like anyone called and said, “Hey Ang, what do you think of this?” So moving on…)
Maggie has come up with a solution to figure out how many sharks are in the water at this very moment. She wants Willa to put on her goggles and stick her pretty little blond head in the water and LOOK. (Are you flippin’ serious??? This Maggie chick IS a scientist, right? She DOES in fact STUDY sharks, right? She DOES know that while it’s not their first menu choice, Great Whites WILL dine on humans…?...as we learned in Issue #1. This chick is…I’m not even Willa and I want to punch this Maggie. Moving on…)
Now, incredibly Willa ALSO decides that “this is the only way” (please enter another eye roll aimed at the scientists with all the non-accurate equipment) and puts her goggles on to dip that blond bombshell head of hers in the dinner pool. BUT, just as she leans over to plunge in, she hears a SWOOSH and a PLOP as a big metal canister with a beacon light on it bursts through the cruel surface of the bitter ocean. It’s the life raft! Hallelujah!!!!
So, Willa sees this big canister containing the life raft and nixes the idea of her head being fish food. Smart girl. She tells Maggie over the SAT phone what’s popped up and she starts paddling almost frantically towards it but, she’s not getting anywhere. (I mean, come on, she’s going against ocean current here guys, not the easiest thing in the world with two paddles and she’s doing it one handed.)
Willa hears Mags filling Jay in on the situation. Maggie tells her to be careful paddling, not to splash too much. She hears Jay in the background, “F&%* that Maggie tell her to paddle faster!” Then Maggie yells back at Jay. (Are these two coworkers or dating?) Willa hears Jay tell Maggie, “Tell her to swim for it! It’s her best chance!”
Now, of course, Maggie refuses to tell Willa to jump in the water and swim for it because frankly, (guys, man up here) Willa is on her period. This makes her like fresh chum in the White Shark Café and this is NOT good. Maggie is NOT going to tell Willa to swim for the raft. Jay still is screaming that it’s the best plan.
Willa looks into the water and sees all the sharks have gone under. She sees no dorsal fins, no tails.
She decides to go for it.
(Now here is a great set of panels portraying an awesome and intense action sequence.)
Willa jumps into the water with the SAT phone in her hand. She swims quickly to towards the raft container. WE see an awesome bird’s eye view of her swimming and this massive shark swimming just perhaps seconds behind her. She’s swimming, the shark is swimming…and gaining on her…and gaining…and gaining. Just as she gets to the container, the shark swoops up from underneath and whips itself out of the water, whole body, snatching the container in its mouth like an eagle with prey, diving back deep into the unforgiving depths of the water, all right in front of Willa, within inches…of her face.
Willa starts to freak out. Maggie hears her and starts yelling at her over the SAT phone to shut up and swim back to the wing of the plane. Trying to get her bearings, in her frantic state Willa is looking around and well, she can’t find the wing. How far did she swim? Where did it go? She just saw it a minute ago… (These are the dangers of the vast open sea my friends.)
After a few seconds, which seem like hours, she sees the wing and starts swimming, quite literally, for her life towards it; a shark, massive and hungry, just mere seconds beyond her. And poor Willa, poor, poor Willa. She swims man. She swims and swims but this shark, is like Jaws…and it just keeps getting closer…and closer…and closer, until it’s right on top of her.
She reaches the wing but, it’s too late. Her hand with the SAT phone hits the wing first, SAT phone...on wing…check. Willa gets pulled under quickly, viciously. She’s gone.
We hear Maggie on the SAT phone screaming to Jay that she can’t get Willa, that she’s not answering, that something’s wrong…Silence.
Pfwoosh!!!!! Willa’s pretty blond head pops up out of the water and her hands grasp for the wing as she pulls herself up onto it. She lies down on her back and just breathes for a moment. Then she tells Maggie she’s ok however, the shark got her, she’s been bitten. It bit her and then let her go, she tells Maggie it didn’t hurt, and it felt more like a puppy bite. (I have a puppy; I don’t know what this chick is talking about. My German Shephard has razor puppy teeth, crazy lunatic…shark puppy bite, yeah okay.)
However, when she looks down at her calf she sees that this “puppy bite” is bleeding everywhere and is in fact fairly deep. Maggie tells her she needs to stop the bleeding so Willa uses one of her shirts (thank you for the layered look) and wraps her leg in that.
But now, she notices something really strange happening. All the sharks are LEAVING. Not just going under but, actually leaving. She relays this info to Maggie. (I personally by now would ask to talk to Jay but, whatever…).
Maggie and Jay start having another one of their “conversations”. Some weird conversation about a “Veronica” and if she’s “there”... Now Jay takes the phone from Maggie, again. He explains who “Veronica” is.
“Veronica” is a Great White shark. A dominant Great White, to be more specific. He explains that she has a camera that they just fitted her with that morning on her dorsal fin. Being that she is a dominant shark explains why all the other sharks have left the area. However, (there’s always a however or a but with these folks) the camera and transmitters that they fitted Veronica with are interfering with her own electroreceptors. This is causing her to be very confused and agitated. (Yay!)
Now, Willa sees this shark pass by as she is hearing this information. She bellows at Jay that this thing is the size of a train. Oh and that it’s swimming around her like fresh dinner is served…again …and bumping the wing…and acting aggressively. Jay continues to explain that the camera needs to be removed…and Willa has to do it.
All she needs to do it reach out and flip a release and grab the camera as Veronica swims by her. Willa’s like, Oh, that’s all huh? Just like that? Sure! No Problem! NO!!!! Are you crazy!
Jay tells her she really has no choice. If she doesn’t the shark will just become more agitated, she doesn’t want that.
Okay, so, here we go, Willa the shark whisperer…they have told her to keep eye contact so the shark knows it has no element of surprise for attack. Gee, thanks. Willa doesn’t want to but as Veronica starts to swim at her at full speed she reaches out for the camera.
The shark, with all its speed and momentum, pulls her tiny body off the wing into the water, leaving her vulnerable yet again. And here comes Veronica.
And the chase is on. Can Willa get back to and on the wing before Veronica can get to her and tear her to shreds? Just as Willa gets to the wing Veronica speeds past her and takes a huge bite out of the wing of the plane, cutting it in half, disappearing with her victory spoils into the depths of the ocean.
Willa climbs back on what’s left of her wing. She’s still got the SAT phone. She checks in with Maggie. She tells her she’s okay but. HER world, “just got a whole lot smaller.”
With each issue this story is getting better and better. I was getting frustrated but a one man production takes time and I respect that. I am completely engrossed in the art and the story line and cannot wait to see what happens with the next issue. There are only two more. SO, bear with me.
I’ve got so much more coming your way, so stay tuned. As always, thank you SO MUCH for reading. YOU are truly appreciated. Happy Haunting!