Content Warning: From the Red Fog and this review mention Childhood Sexual Assault
I am a fan of dark stories. I mean, my most anticipated physical webcomic release is Killing Stalking. But sometimes, the shock and the dark come on too strong and with nearly no story value. That’s From the Red Fog to a tee—a horror-thriller series set in 1900s England. The series is written and illustrated by Mosae Nohara, published and localized in English by Yen Press, translated by Ca;eb Cook, and features lettering by Chiho Christie.
Raised in a cellar steeped in solitude with his serial killer mother, Ruwanda is a little messed up. Well, a lot messed up. Having to put his emotions away to survive the loneliness, he turned to violence to get his mother’s affection and attention. But when he finds himself separated from her and out in the world for the first time, his entrance into English society is anything but painless. Told he didn’t belong in the world beyond the cellar, Ruwanda looks for his place in it all and racks up a body count along the way.
Moving from place to place, Ruwanda tries to feel something as the all-consuming emotions from the cellar creep into every moment of his new life. With a fake smile and a knife, Ruwanda paints England red, with the blood of the innocent and the guilty just the same.
If you haven’t guessed it, the red fog is blood spray, and the volume is filled with it. Not for the faint of heart, I actually find it hard to believe that the series is only rated OT for older teens. Filled with the murder of children and adults, From the Red Fog Volume 1 is shocking, with moments of implied sexual assault thrown in for no reason but to make this twisted psychopathic pre-teen sympathetic. Unfortunately, given the character’s age and how the assault is implied, the featuring of CSA (even though it’s only implied and not depicted) in this series is no more than a shock. That alone makes this a series I can’t recommend widely.
The shame here is that From the Red Fog Volume 1 has fantastic art. It’s heavily saturated, and every kill scene is fit for a slasher. It’s one of those things that feels like a waste because there is only a skeleton of a story. While other shock stories can thrill and craft a narrative, From the Red Fog is a shell made beautiful with a robust gothic aesthetic. That said, there isn’t anything once you crack it open. However, I’m not sure that Nohara cares so much about that as they care about crafting visually interesting moments that look good when you crack open the volume.
I can appreciate the attempt to tell a thrilling story about a serial killer protagonist. Still, with that, there needs to be careful thought put into what precisely the motives Ruwanda has and the impact he leaves on the characters around them, beyond just killing someone. I’m torn on what the series can do moving forward. It’s chaotic in many ways and yet empty in others. With the volume’s ending, there seems to be some semblance of a plan for a narrative as Ruwanda appears to have found a path forward. We’ll just have to see in July when Volume 2 hits shelves.
From the Red Fog Volume 1 is available now wherever books are sold digitally and physically.
From the Red Fog Volume 1
I can appreciate the attempt to tell a thrilling story about a serial killer protagonist, but with that, there needs to be careful thought put into what exactly the motives they have and the impact they leave on the characters around them, beyond just killing someone. I’m torn though on what the series can do moving forawrd…I guess we’ll just have to see in July when Volume 2 hits shelves.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.