ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Mountainhead Collector’s Edition’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Mountainhead Collector's Edition

Mountainhead Collector’s Edition is published by IDW Publishing, written by John Lees, art by Ryan Lee, colors by Doug Garbark, and letters by Shawn Lee. Abraham has spent his whole life on the run with his conspiracy theory spouting father. Surviving by breaking into houses and stealing what they can, they move from place to place, staying one step ahead of “them.” But when the law finally catches up to them, Abraham finds out some truths about himself he never expected. And where they’ll lead him will be a whole new level of terror.

It has been said that our perceptions determine our reality. That the truth can never truly be known, as any information we get must first be filtered through the lenses of our senses and become colored by our own experiences. Therefore, the sleepy little town full of smiling faces, may not be just that. But if our perceptions can’t detect it, our reality won’t reflect it. At least, not till it’s too late.

Mountainhead Collector’s Edition does an excellent job telling a story whose primary concepts will be thoroughly familiar to those big into the horror genre. And while the greater concepts at play will be familiar, it sets up and pays off the many characters that allow it to stand apart from similar horror fare.

The central character in this narrative is a young man named Abraham. As far back as Abraham can remember, he’s been on the run with his father. Constantly on the move, they survive by breaking into other people’s homes and stealing from them. They have to live this way because his father believes the government is after them since he refuses to settle into one of their nice comfy traps they call a normal life.

Soon, however, things go wrong, and the police finally catch up to them. When they are taken into custody, Abraham discovers he isn’t who his father has told him. His birth name is John. His “father” stole him from his parents, a Canadian couple that lives in the sleepy wilderness town of Braeriach. He is soon returned to them, where he struggles to acclimate to his new surroundings and family.

It is in this picturesque town that Mountainhead Collector’s Edition’s main narrative unfolds. As Abraham must learn how to deal with his changing world, strange things begin to happen around him, and he begins to question the genuineness of the smiles he sees everywhere. Braeriach is supposed to be a happy little town, but something isn’t right here.

Through this series of mysterious events, we learn about Abraham and many of those around him. I’ve always believed that the writer must make you care about those struggling to survive for horror to truly land. Happily, Lees seems to have made your need to care for the cast to be the top priority of this story.

Everything from the small town’s judgmental nature, where “everyone knows everyone” and is more than willing to gossip about them, to the struggles of reconnecting with a son that can’t remember you are explored with a deep and a meaningful sense of purpose. Even as the horror elements pick up and everything descends into chaos, Lees makes sure to allow the emotional stories that began early in the narrative to deliver big payoffs. This keeps Mountainhead Collector’s Edition from descending into a simple gorefest. And come midway into this book, you are gonna see a lot of gore.

Artist Ryan Lee holds nothing back in making the creature designs here as grotesque as one could ask for. The twisted visages of the monsters often take the form of creatures torn inside out and twisted into perverse imitations of what they once were. Needless to say, if one is uncomfortable with such visuals, best to move on.

The colorwork in Mountainhead Collector’s Edition only furthers the catching nature of the art. Subjects in the panels are always pulled into the eye’s focus through great contrast usage. Colorful clothing keeps characters popping out of winter backgrounds throughout this tale. The contrast noticeably shifts a bit in the back half, as the strong use of reds gives another layer of contrasting colors to many of the panels.

Wrapping up this book’s presentation is the lettering. Shawn Lee does a great job delivering the story to the reader. The lettering is clear and easy to follow, and there are some great designs used for sound effects that help emphasize the sounds being made, further projecting these noises from the panel and to the reader.

When all is said and done, Mountainhead Collector’s Edition creates a horror story infused with characters you come to care for. As the various plot strands come together, I found myself deeply invested in what happened to my favorite personalities in this tale.

Mountainhead Collector’s Edition is available on January 12th, wherever comics are sold.


Mountainhead Collector’s Edition
4.5

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Mountainhead Collector’s Edition creates a horror story infused with characters you come to care for. As the various plot strands come together, I found myself deeply invested in what happened to my favorite personalities in this tale.