A big part of growing up is letting go of childhood fears. There is no boogeyman living under the bed and no creatures hiding in the furthest reaches of the closet. But sometimes, late at night, those old fears find their way back to us. Something Is Killing The Children #1, from publisher BOOM! Studios, writer James Tynion IV, artist Werther Dell’Edera, colorist Miquel Muerto, and letterer AndWorld Design, gives readers a new reason to fear the dark.
James first noticed the missing person fliers a few weeks before his friends were killed in the woods. He found them posted all over the sleepy town of Archer’s Peak, Wisconsin. Black and white photos of smiling children filled every bulletin board in town, each one accompanied by the word “MISSING.” Since then, even more kids have gone missing. The few kids the authorities do find are in pieces; all except for James. The police found James, the only survivor of a brutal attack that left his friends in body bags, alone in the woods. No one believes him when he says a monster did it. No one except Erica Slaughter, a mysterious young woman who says she hunts monsters. With fear and paranoia growing every day, James hopes that Erica can stop the madness. Because something is killing the children.
There’s a lot going on under the hood of Something Is Killing The Children #1. Tynion writes his midwestern town with a somber beaten energy, calling to mind true crime documentaries. Archer’s Peak is a small town in mourning, caught up in a tragedy so heinous it doesn’t seem real. But despite its grounded setting, there’s something undeniably fantastical in the book’s DNA. Monster hunters who roam from town to town are the sort of characters you find in Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. They don’t fit into grounded small towns like Archer’s Peak. Everyone knows monsters can’t possibly lurk in the woods. Yet with more kids going missing every day, Archer’s Peak drowns in its own fear as rationality fails.
Throughout Something Is Killing The Children #1, James Tynion IV spotlights the emotional strain terror inflicts on normal people. Whether it’s rage, fear, or just confusion, every person we meet in Something Is Killing The Children #1 struggles to cope with the horror of their reality. Ever since his amazing run on Detective Comics, Tynion has proven himself as a writer, tackling every character with emotional realism and heart. Yet in Something Is Killing The Children #1, that same authenticity makes us fear for these kids.
Werther Dell’Edera and Miquel Muerto’s art only bolsters Something Is Killing The Children #1‘s uncomfortable atmosphere. By day, Muerto colors depict Archer’s Peak with a desaturated pallet, giving the town an almost sterile loo. It is as if the entire town was a hospital waiting room. Yet by night, Archer’s Peak transforms into a shadow-filled blue nightmare. For a comic that straddles the line between realistic tragedy and grim fantasy, Dell’Edera and Muerto’s art amplifies the intensity of both, leaving the reader untethered to either world. As its title implies, Something Is Killing The Children #1‘s features horrific violence against children. These scenes, while grisly, never descend to exploitation. With Dell’Edera and Muerto’s art, each splash of crimson hits the page like a sledgehammer, each bloody child a nail to the heart.
Something Is Killing The Children #1 promises to be a horror comic worth evangelizing. With the atmosphere of a half-remembered nightmare, the issue presents the story of a midwestern town paralyzed by tragedy. The book isn’t afraid of exploring dark places, and with more monsters ahead, Something Is Killing The Children #1 gives us all a reason to fear the dark. If someone is buying this comic, it should be you.
Something is Killing the Children #1
Something Is Killing The Children #1 promises to be a horror comic worth evangelizing. With the atmosphere of a half-remembered nightmare, the issue presents the story of a midwestern town paralyzed by tragedy.