Unearth #1 is published by Image Comics, written by Cullen Bunn (Empty Man) and Kyle Strahm, with art by Baldemar Rivas, and letters by Crank!. The book follows a scientific task-force who travel to Mexico where a flesh-warping disease has devastated a remote village. In hopes of finding the source, the team the disease to a nearby cave system. But once discovering and exploring the hostile and new ecosystem, they discover things that will haunt them forever.
Unearth #1 is an excellent example of body horror, though it has themes of infection horror, as the disease overtaking this village has created a grotesque creature that barely even resembles the human it once was. The initial reveal of the disease’s impact on these people is spectacular as a young boy innocently takes the team of scientist to see one of their former associates who is now just a mangled and bloated sack of skin dripping blood, mucus, and pus while sporting an unnerving and ominous facial expression.
The reveal genuinely shocked me. I read and review a lot of horror comics and very rarely do pages make shock to the point I gasp out loud. A lot of horror comics have disgusting and disturbing imagery but none can match what Rivas has created, particularly in that opening reveal.
A lot of the panels in this comic remind me of Alien or Annihilation as the team explores the dangerous and toxic environment. While not taking place in space, these panels feel otherworldly as the team dons protective suits that provide them oxygen. As the timer starts, the tension builds. A lot of the expressions and close-ups of the team, created by Rivas, adds to that tension.
Bunn and Strahm have crafted a compelling narrative and with just one issue in, I am already hooked. Previously, Bunn created a similar nightmare with Empty Man and my main concern when learning about this story was they would be too similar. While both do feature elements of body and infection horror, the stories are very unique, especially in how the disease works. Additionally, Unearth #1 has more sci-fi elements infused in its pages, from following the scientific task-force to using an eerie green to highlight moments of suspense when in the cave.
Overall, Unearth #1 is an incredible start to this new series. The pacing feels perfect as it is just enough of a tease to keep the reader on edge for the next issue. This nightmare is clearly a labor of love for this creative team as each panel feels as if it was meticulously planned and thought out. The incredible but disturbing art coupled with the overarching themes within the book weave together into a horrifying issue. Unearth #1 is an unsettling and uncomfortable nightmare that I would highly recommend to any horror fans.
Unearth #1 is available now wherever comic books are sold.
Unearth #1 is an incredible start to this new series. The pacing feels perfect as it is just enough of a tease to keep the reader on edge for the next issue. This nightmare is clearly a labor of love for this creative team as each panel feels as if it was meticulously planned and thought out.