The inaugural issue of Vault Comics’ new Nightfall line, The Plot #1, is written by Tim Daniel (Fissure, Enormous) and Michael Moreci (Wasted Space, Mall) with art by Joshua Hixson (Shangai Red), colors by Jordan Boyd, and letters by Jim Campbell. The horror series starts by introducing Charles Blaine, a CEO wanting to do good in the world despite his tumultuous and mysterious childhood. But after him and his wife are murdered, his estranged brother, Chase Blaine, becomes the guardian to his children, McKenzie and Zach. Now with his niece and nephew, whom he has only met three times and hardly knows, in toe, he returns to his childhood mansion in Cape Augusta. However, not everything is as it seems as neither the town nor the home, teeming with family secrets and seemingly supernatural entities, wants them back.
The Plot #1 opens with the phrase “In order to receive…first you must give.” During a speech on his birthday, Charles Blaine repeats the saying, attributing it to his father. In his fight to destigmatize mental illness and get people the help they need, Charles often thinks of his father and his own history. However, after being brutally murdered by a strange creature, it becomes apparent that the phrase might have a more sinister meaning than what was originally alluded to.
The Plot #1 is a strong start to the series that successfully builds tension and suspense. Daniel and Moreci establish the complicated dynamic between Charles and Chase well. During Charles’ funeral, Chase’s grief and regret are relatable and emotional. The loss of his brother somehow hurts even more because he never allowed himself to get close to him even when Charles tried to reach out.
At it roots though, The Plot #1 is a horror comic. Hixson does a fantastic job creating the various dark and sinister creatures that appear throughout the issue. However, the star of the book is actually Boyd’s coloring. The color palette, even when the characters are in broad daylight, remains dark, populated mostly with cooler tones of purple and mauve. Boyd mirrors the unsettling feeling a lot of characters have through the color palette, particularly when showcasing Charles and Chase’s childhood home.
Outside of the art and coloring, Campbell also creates a lot of unsettling moments through his brilliant lettering. Words are used not only to signify sounds but creates more fluid action within the panels. Additionally, the size of the words shows just how overwhelmed the characters, particularly Chase, feel. When Charles calls Chase before his death, the ringing of the phone becomes so overwhelming that Chase pulls the phone out of the wall. This moment and Chase’s emotions are beautifully translated thanks to Campell’s work.
Overall, The Plot #1 is an excellent horror comic that, while lacking in traditional scares, uses its unsettling color palate and emotional opening to establish the start of a thrilling mystery. Adult fans of mystery and supernatural series. such as Nancy Drew or Supernatural, should absolutely pick up this book. It is also the perfect read for the upcoming Halloween season. I look forward to upcoming issues and continuing to follow this book as the plot thickens – pun intended.
The Plot #1 is available now wherever comic books are sold
The Plot #1
Overall, The Plot #1 is an excellent horror comic that, while lacking in traditional scares, uses its unsettling color palate and emotional opening to establish the start of a thrilling mystery.