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.