Something is Killing the Children #16 is published from BOOM! Studios, written by James Tynion IV, illustrated by Werther Dell’Edera, with colors by Miquel Muerto and letters from AndWorld Design. With the previous arc at an end, now is the time to explore Erica’s initiation into the house of Slaughter and her rise through the ranks in the Order of St. George.
Issue #16 turns back the wheels of time to the darkest day of Erica Slaughter’s young life and the moment that changed everything. The issue opens up with Erica just moments after killing her first monster, with Jessica, her former mentor, first on the scene.
Jessica quickly recognizes the potential this young girl shows and is aware that with her whole family dead around her, all that awaits Erica is social services, fostering, and years of trying to deal with this childhood trauma. So Jessica makes a bilateral decision to nominate her as a new initiative into the house of Slaughter. The young girl will have to pass a series of tests and navigate a rigid institution that doesn’t want to see an outsider amongst its ranks.
Tynion does a fantastic job in really layering the issue with an inordinate amount of tension and subtext. The dialogue is short and snappy and perfectly captures the tone of these two worlds coming together. Jessica is an experienced monster hunter who has seen untold horrors but is grounded enough to realize that for Erica, this is all brand new. While the young soon-to-be Erica Slaughter, after witnessing the murder of her family, shows a resiliency you’d not expect to see of a 12-year-old.
Throughout the issue, you can feel the weight of the foreshadowing of things that have already come to pass in previous issues. While this adds a great amount of gravitas, this new arc can fundamentally operate just as well without this information for new readers to the series. A prequel arc that adds another level of depth to the original.
The art from Dell’Edera continues to deliver at a high standard with a style that is uniquely his. Paired with the brilliant coloring from Muerto, the two combine their creative skills to create a truly influential set of visuals. For me, this series is all about the eyes. It’s an odd thing to call out, but the reactions in the characters’ eyes tell you so much about what they’re subconsciously thinking. Dell’Edera captures the facial reactions so well, but the eyes become imperative in moments when the characters are wearing bandanas. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s hard to read facial reactions with a mask on.
The issue was heavily weighted with dialogue, with little to no action. Given this, the speech bubbles were all well located. The pace of the issue flows nicely, and the placement of the dialogue doesn’t detract from the art.
Overall, the issue sets a great tone for the new arc and allows us to see the horror that Erica Slaughter was born into, with the promise of so much more. The creative combination of Tynion, Dell’Edera, and Muerto continues to keep churning out the horror comics we all deserve. Now is the perfect time for new fans to jump into this stellar series!
Something is Killing the Children #16 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Something is Killing the Children #16
Overall, the issue sets a great tone for the new arc and allows us to see the horror that Erica Slaughter was born into, with the promise of so much more. The creative combination of Tynion, Dell’Edera, and Muerto continues to keep churning out the horror comics we all deserve. It is now the perfect time for new fans to jump into this stellar series!