Advance Review: Colder TPB
I love me some horror comics. Dark Horse has been on a great stretch recently, releasing some critically acclaimed horror series . Colder may be the best of the bunch, as Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreya create a chilling (pardon the pun) comic that entertains and terrifies.
I’ll start the review off by saying that, as a citizen of Boston, I love the amazing level of detail that Ferreya put into every panel. I could pin point mom and pop shops that I walk bay daily, and even noticed street signs at specific intersections. Boston doesn’t appear much in main stream comics, so seeing non landmark sections of Boston appear faithfully is a huge point in the win column for me.
When it comes to horror stories in general, less is always more. Leaving the worst to the reader’s/viewer’s imagination is much scarier than showing what is chasing our intrepid heroes. Tobin sets up a lot of questions throughout the story, and follows through on most of them. But enough are left that you are wanting more. While Tobin explains a good amount about the nature of Decklan and the crazy world, he doesn’t go into massive exposition dumps for the reader. He treats them as an educated person, and they will understand what is going on without having all of the facts. Naturally, I wanted to know all the facts, because Tobin has created an interesting world. Having crazy people see another world as an interesting twist. The comparison to being drunk is a great way to put the readers in Declan’s shoes. The plot moves along at a nice pace, but some of the romantic entanglements bog the story down a little. The idea that Declan would want to save Reece for being his care taker is enough of a motive that we don’t need the potential love interesting. But I’ll talk more about that later. Tobin explains some of the obvious questions that are brought up about Declan’s existence nicely.
Characters often suffer the most in horror comics/movies. They are expendable for the most part. But Tobin creates a trio of intriguing and engaging characters that left me wanting to see more of them. Reece is shown to be a tough woman who doesn’t necessarily need someone in her life. This ends up making her chemistry with Declan that more electric. She clearly was using him as an imaginary friend, and he loved being talked to like a normal person. That type of relationship was bound to pop up given the start up. While the love story doesn’t ruin the story, Tobin could have dialed it back a little bit. Love her? He just started talking to her. That seemed a little gun ho on his part. If Declan decided he had feelings for Reece, but didn’t describe them, it would have worked better. Nimble Jack is one evil bastard. He’s crazy as hell, and fun incredibly fun to read about. The fact that we can’t see his next move coming makes each panel exciting. I would have liked some explanation over “The Hunger” and why Declan can do it as well, but that’s what the second volume will be for.
Juan Ferrera’s artwork is chilling, but also beautiful. His soft colors give way to the harsh reality of the crazy world. Tobin didn’t need to mention the temperature change in the script, because Ferrera’s colors do a better job of showing this. The color change appears gradually, and almost looks natural. Facial expressions are quite lifelike, but occasionally the facial features get a tad distorted. Reece’s face changed its structure a few times. It doesn’t take you out of the story, just a slight hiccup I noticed. The gore had me squirming in my seat a little bit. The color of the blood is spot on for a comic, where the blood is usually brighter than actual blood. A subtle change, but adds to the overall experience. The hunger suck that Nimble Jack does is a visual treat. The neon colors contrasted well against the realistic color pallet that Ferrera was working with, making the image hit harder.
With most Trade Paperbacks (TPBs), there is bonus content. Dark Horse provided with some sketches of character designs, and how each character eventually ended up looking like they did. Nothing groundbreaking, but interesting to certain people.
Colder was a great read, and one of the best horror comics I’ve read in a while. I was happy as hell to see that there is a second volume coming out in 2014.
Colder gets 4.5/5.