Monstrous Politics

The Eighth Seal #1

Writer: James Tynion IV
Art: Jeremy Rock
Color: Nolan Woodward
Letters: Troy Peteri
Publisher: IDW, originally Thrillbent

This week I'd like to mention a comic that came out a couple weeks ago and hasn't been getting a ton of buzz. That's a damn shame, as The Eighth Seal is an excellent new chapter in the horror genre, previously available as a web comic. This book is helmed by James Tynion IV, who has been proving to have some series chops working on the macabre with his work on Batman, Memetic, Cognetic, and The Woods. The art duties fall to Jeremy Rock of Narcopolis, Escape of the Living Dead, Cold Space and more. Check out more of his work at here!

Amelia Greene sees a monster when she looks in the mirror and feels that she becomes one in everyday life, though no one has actually witnessed it. Her shrink, who she can only assume is trying to help, suggests upping her meds, but Amelia knows that whatever is inside her is getting stronger. The monster she is trying to quell wants to get out, and some folks may be inclined to let that happen. Oh and by the way, she just happens to be the first lady.

Tynion has a serious knack for developing a main character who is damaged in a curious way (or in this case monstrous). Amelia Greene is a likable and innocent woman, however the visions and alternate personality that Tynion writes for her show a creature of malevolence. The dichotomy between these two is intriguing and the fact that the evil entity might manifest physically is an awesome premise. Not only that but the dialogue used by the creature is truly terrifying as soon as it's introduced. Besides Amelia and her hallucinogenic friend, we also get to see arguing the White House staff who produce a situation where everyone wants to do right by the First Lady but more or less only for the President's benefit. There are a lot of story elements at play here, each working together very well.

Jeremy Rock is an artist which, I must confess, I was previously unaware of. But no longer! Rock uses a very clean style to further contrast the regular world/life of Amelia with the monster inside of her. Everything is very symmetrical and peaceful, but that sentiment changes quickly and shockingly. There are certain beats that are necessary in horror stories to really hit those frightening moments and Rock is incredible at approaching those. Normal panels transform into scenes of utter terror as we get treated to a sinister creature that has been expertly designed. Lastly, I'd like to mention Rock's faces, particularly in the eyes. Each expression conveys very clear emotion that helps pull the reader further into the story and the emotions that inhabit it. Particularly the interaction between Amelia and Derek, the President, show a really nice relationship. Minus the vile creature occupying her body, of course.

The Eighth Seal is a promising horror title with a premier issue that doesn't shirk on shock value and strong exposition. James Tynion IV, Jeremy Rock and the rest of the team are producing a fun title that is already starting with some heavy build up to what I can only assume is going to be an insane ride.You can check out a preview of the first issue on Thrillbent, right here and pick up the first issue at your LCS. Issue #2 comes out on 1/27!

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