Written: Raven Gregory
Penciled: Robert Gill/Novo Malgado
Colored: Michael Garcia
How well do you know your neighbors? Are you guys acquaintances? Friends? Best buds?? And how about your closest friends? How close are you?
Well, here we have a story of two men. Rick and Danny. They are good friends and good neighbors. They have a good relationship and respect each other. And life is normal…for a while.
We start with a man begging for his life. (What a great way to start an issue huh?!) He’s standing in a very large hole in the ground. A hole just about the size of a human’s grave. It’s pouring rain and it’s dark out. Two men are standing above him at the edge of the grave. He is asking them what he did, why they won’t talk to him. But all he gets is silence.
As he is pleading for his life, the two men are still standing over him, one with a flashlight, one with a revolver, both with shovels.
The man in the hole screams that he hasn’t done anything wrong as the guy with the gun raises the firearm and takes aim and responds to him that he NEVER will do anything…and shoots him dead.
The two men ditch the gun over the side of a bridge close by, get in their car and drive away.
The men in the car are Rick and Danny. Rick is driving. And he seems at ease with what just happened. He was the one who pulled the trigger. Danny, on the other hand, seems upset, guilt oozing from every pore of his being.
While driving home, they have a discussion where Rick is trying to tell Danny they did the right thing but, Danny isn’t taking it very well. He’s nauseated and just wants to get home to his family. Arriving at Danny’s house, Rick repeats his feeling that what they did was the “right thing”, tells him it’s okay, to get some rest and they part ways.
All night long, Danny is feeling overwhelmed with anxiety and guilt. He can’t sleep and is consumed by his thoughts about what they did that night.
Rick, however, walks in his door, cool as a cucumber. He talks to his kids and then has a very romantic night with his wife. (Obviously not a guilty bone in his body.)
The next morning as the guys are getting ready to leave for work, Rick’s wife notices that their neighbor, Anthony, is not out mowing his lawn like he would normally be. She mentions this to Rick, who was hanging out with Anthony and Danny the night before, and he says Anthony is probably just hung over and heads off to work.
Now, we flash back in time to two years prior.
A man is unloading a moving truck by himself. Rick goes across the street to help his new neighbor and introduce himself. As they are working, Danny pulls up and offers to help as well. The three men go through the typical introductions and become fast friends. Rick and Danny both have wives and kids. Anthony does not. Still, being the friends they all are, Anthony attends the family parties and cookouts, etc.
Some time later, when they are having a chill day at Anthony’s watching a game, Rick happens to see a piece of Anthony’s mail on the counter. It is from the “Department of Public Safety, Staten Island Parole and Probation”. Rick is puzzled but doesn’t mention it to anyone and goes about the get together.
A little bit after that incident, Rick is outside mowing his lawn when he notices that Anthony has a visitor. Although Rick can’t see who it is at that time, he can see the car they drove to get to Anthony’s house and it has a “Parole and Probation Department of Corrections” decal on the side.
So, now Rick has seen a letter from these people at Anthony’s house and now they are physically AT his place talking to him. Rick starts putting two and two together and decides to ask Anthony what’s going on. Anthony says that it’s nothing to worry about and blows it off, with no explanation.
Rick isn’t satisfied with Anthony’s answer (who would be, human nature causes us to be curious and nosy folks). He decides he’s going to Google Anthony’s name and see what comes up. He is shocked and enraged to find out that Anthony is a registered sex offender for molestation of a child and sexual conduct with a minor. He is also classified as a Level 3 Risk which is extremely high.
Rick doesn’t sit on this new information long. He gets together with Danny to have a couple beers…and a discussion. Eventually, after talking about how important family is and how much they love their kids and how there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for them to keep them safe, Rick tells Danny all about what he found out.
Now, the conversation changes to a more sinister and morbid tone. They both start getting angry, beyond angry, embroiled in rage. They start spouted about how this man was around their children, chilled in their homes, ate their food, became part of their lives. And now, knowing what he’s done, what he’s capable of, they are just consumed with hatred and vengeance. They want to make sure he can’t ever hurt their kids…or anyone else’s.
They devise a plan. They take Anthony out for drinks and get him wasted. Then they drive him out to where they have the hole, dump him in it (which sobers him up really quick) and eventually shoot him, kill him and bury him.
Danny is not cut out for murder. The weight of his secret begins to really interfere with his life, his relationship with his family, his job…everything. He talks to Rick about it and wants to go to the police. Rick is NOT okay with this at all. He implores Danny to take some time to think about it but, Danny says his mind is made up.
Later that night, Rick is determined to take care of Danny and his guilty conscience. With a bottle of booze in one hand and a gun in the other, Rick heads to Danny’s house to confront him. He uses the spare key from above the door to enter the house. Danny’s wife and kids are visiting family so, Danny has the house to himself.
As Rick strolls around, still drinking, he mutters to himself the frustrations that Danny is causing. He finally goes to the bedroom, ready to kill his best friend. He pulls back the blanket on the bed to shoot Danny and the only thing there is an envelope with Cindy written on it (that’s Danny’s wife).
Rick quickly realizes Danny must be onto him and bolts for the door to leave. As he exits the house he is stopped dead in his tracks by a huge spotlight pointed on him coming out the door and tons of cops in front of the house, weapons drawn and pointed at him. They announce they know who he is and he is under arrest for Anthony’s murder.
Then we cut to another suburb, in another town. We see Danny, unloading a moving truck into a house. His new neighbor comes to say hi and asks him where he’s from. Danny replies he hasn’t decided where he’s from yet.
Through these frames we get excerpts from his letter to his wife. He tells her how sorry he is everything turned out this way and that he was going to turn himself in but, he just couldn’t and changed his mind at the last minute. He tells her he loves her and the kids and wishes her the best. He says he deserves to suffer and that she and the kids shouldn’t have to be a part of it. He signs it Love, Danny.
And starts his life anew.
I really enjoyed this issue. Although I wasn’t thrilled with all of the artwork, there were definitely some panels that were awesome. You must remember that in each of these issues there is a small side story with a couple pages in the front and back. Those are always a nice little punch of added fright power.
There is also a narration going on along with the story that gives much more balance and insight into the characters.
I do like the way Gregory sets up the story, giving us a little information here and a little more there until it all pieces together. It’s a well written story. Definitely worth the read.