REVIEW: ‘DC Horror Presents: Soul Plumber,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

DC Horror Presents Soul Plumber #1 - But Why Tho

DC Horror Presents: Soul Plumber #1 is published by DC Horror, an imprint of DC Comics. This is a mature horror comic from a concept created by Marcus Parks, Henry Zebrowski and Ben Kissell. Written by Parks and Zebrowski. The pencils are by PJ Holden and John McCrea, with McCrea also acting as the inker. Colours are by Mike Spicer and the letterer is Becca Carey.

Edgar works in a gas station in Indianapolis, constantly mobbed by strange locals. Edgar is a deeply, almost obsessively religious man. A man pulls up in a van covered in religious slogans. This man claims to be a soul plumber, able to remove the darkness that clogs up a person’s soul. Witnessing the show in action, Edgar believes he can do the same. And thus he is opened up to a world of demons.

From the start, the book is revealed as the crude, dark concept that it is. The comic takes a while to build the world, small that it is. Much of this first issue focuses on the gas station that Edgar works in, with the characters being introduced. The elements that twist this story and alter it into a heavy fantasy/sci-fi experience do not activate until the second half of the book. This is clever by the writers, as it allows for a status quo to be established before it is ripped open. The pace is slow but never boring. The nature of the sci-fi and the fantasy in this issue are unique in that they are chaotic and mad, with the rules unclear.

Present within the quartet of main characters inside the first issue is different explorations of the same theme: religion. Each seems to use religion and the name of God in entirely separate ways, showing how it can be contorted and manipulated to serve how people need it. What may seem excessive and loud, but is monumentally clever. Edgar is the main character, but it cannot be said that he is likable. Nor are any of them, for that matter.

The art is another factor of this issue that may split those approaching it. It is intensely creepy and unnerving. Zebrowski and Holden implement this scratchy art style, where shadows and shading look like scribbles of ink instead of a singular block. The thick line weights used by Zebrowski result in things having a huge mass of detail sometimes. The main character looks like a horrific redraw of a cast member from a 90s cartoon. Perhaps intentionally ugly, Edgar is distinctive. The designs of the rest of the small roster mirror this unsettling look. Everything appears off and misshapen. Where this art style does work is for when technology and mystical features make an appearance. The exaggeration and wacky creativity of the artists’ proportions lead to some superb portrayals.

The colours are amazing. Whilst the tone, and the characters and the dialogue live in the darkness, the colour scheme doesn’t always abide by this. The inside of the gas station is rife with different shades, primarily a dark green. Edgar’s uniform is a hybrid between red and yellow. And towards the end, we see glimpses of holy, bright light. With the nature of the line art, it leaves gaps in characters and solid objects for light and the background colours to seep through. This adds an ethereal quality at times.

The lettering is really good and has been adapted to fit the style of the book. The word balloons and the text could possibly be handwritten or have the facade of being handwritten. The font that Carey uses makes the madness of the dialogue seem even more chaotic.

DC Horror Presents: Soul Plumber #1 is a divisive book that will not be for everyone. Inside this comic is a brilliant commentary on religion; those that can be affected by it, and those that affect people with it. There is also the beginning of an unsettling but deeply interesting crossover between fantasy, and sci-fi. But the intensity of the language may repel off, but what could be perceived as messy artwork will be a bigger influence to driving the audience away.

DC Horror Presents: Soul Plumber #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


DC Horror Presents: Soul Plumber #1
3.5

TL;DR

DC Horror Presents: Soul Plumber #1 is a divisive book that will not be for everyone. Inside this comic is a brilliant commentary on religion; those that can be affected by it, and those that affect people with it. There is also the beginning of an unsettling but deeply interesting crossover between fantasy, and sci-fi. But the intensity of the language may repel off, but what could be perceived as messy artwork will be a bigger influence to driving the audience away.