Ah, lovely October. The weather is getting cooler (hopefully), everything tastes like pumpkin, and everyone is looking for good horror.
That’s right, in between mainlining as much pumpkin spice as I can, I love to fill my quota for good horror leading up to Halloween.
With that in mind, I picked up Survivors’ Club from Vertigo. The creators on this new series feature Lauren Beukes and Dale Halvorsen on writing, and Ryan Kelly handling art duties. It also has Eva De La Cruz on colors, Clem Robins as letterer, and cover art by Bill Sienkiewicz.
Let’s get right down to the meat and potatoes of why this series is seriously scratching my Halloween horror itch.
First of all, this is a great first issue that does everything it needs to set up the series and hook readers. It lays out a nice mystery while simultaneously introducing us to some of the key players.
The heart of this issue lies with Chenzira, a woman who had a past encounter with an arcade game that strikes me as a more sinister take on the Last Starfighter (80’s movies at their finest) back in 1987. The people she has gathered are all listed on a chess club they were never a part of and have each survived one form of horror movie scenario also during 1987.
Through the issue we only really discover that Chenzira fought an evil arcade game and another character named Simon who may have needed the help of an old priest and a young priest, and whatever gets pea soup out of furniture.
The rest of the club has a flashback alluding to their experience when exposed to the mystery of the series which is depicted in an amazing looking splash page showing each characters reaction to a new online game that may be evil. Kelly really knocks this scene put of the park.
There is one other character, who was on the list but doesn’t join the others. He is the only other character in the book who you get a longer view of in this issue and perhaps sets up another mystery for later in the series.
The end of the issue also has some nice twists and turns that have me hooked for coming back with issue 2. The team does an amazing job in creating this creepy new world hearkening back to the 80’s horror of my formative years. I thank them for that.
The writing is really engaging and each character comes off as unique if not a little messed up. As I mentioned this story is amazing and while I have never read stories by either writer, I will be sure to keep my eye out in the future.
The art really sells this story as well. From Kelly’s facial expressions, to the unique qualities of each characters features, it helps to show us what personality each character has.
The coloring by De La Cruz also works well to make it seem like these characters are in a horror movie while reading. I also noticed some scenes, especially some of the more shocking or surprising seem to have a hue or tone to all the images, which really grabbed and held on to my attention.
Clem Robins helps round out the team by using some creative caption boxes to emphasize certain aspects of scenes. This team really gels well together and the final product turns out gorgeous for their efforts. You also have to give credit to Sienkiewicz for an eye catching cover that stands out at the shop.
If you are a fan of old horror movies and looking for a scary tale leading up to Halloween, head to your LCS and pick this up. I avoided many spoilers and there is a lot more to this book that you need to experience for full effect.