North 40 #1 Review

North 40 #1This new series from the DC imprint Wildstorm is a freak fest and I think it will continue to build upon the chills. Written by Aaron Williams (PS238) with art by Fiona Staples (Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor) the series is like a creepy European horror film that they’d only show on TV past midnight. With hints of BOOM! Studios’ Cthulhu Tales mixed with the nasty small town characters of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Deliverance North 40 launches from the gate like a crazed horse with flaring nostrils and bleeding hooves. We are the terrified jockey gasping for air and wondering where this strange beast beneath us is going.

The series is set in Conover County, which is the kind of town where everyone knows each other and where there’s nothing to do except drink, fight or gossip. That all changes after two foolish high schoolers open what looks like the book of the dead, Necronomicon. Now if you roll your eyes and start thinking this sounds like the plot of a cheesy ’80s film with bad lighting and rubber monsters, you’d be wrong. This is a genuinely atmospheric tale that happens at breakneck pace. Scenes never really last longer than to establish the various characters (veteran sheriff, bored young waitress, town outcast, etc) before horror knocks on their door in the form of flying vampire creatures, odd voices that order an arcane ritual and other assorted weirdness. Every character and scenario is interesting enough and Williams handles realistic dialogue colliding with fantastic chills with a superb blend. 

Staples’ art is reminiscent of the light touch of Phil Noto, with few lines and muted colours. It’s not an approach I thought would’ve worked in this context, but it really does. Staples sells the environment dutifully, with its parched lawns and endless sky. 

North 40 could just have easily been a Vertigo book and there’s an interesting behind the scenes 2 part look at how the series developed over at the new Wildstorm blog, with a glimpse below. Also included in this issue is a 3 page preview of August’s Red Herring 6 ish mini-series.

For fans of mature horror and people in desperate situations, North 40 will help you get freaky.


Warner Bros. Has Fanboy Leverage

It’s just been announced that Ryan Reynolds will play Hal Jordan in the live action Green Lantern film directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royale). That’s great news. Reynolds has not been secretive about his comic book leanings since appearing in the last Blade film and more recently as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, as well as in the future solo spin-off. Reynolds has the right youthful presence to play Jordan in multiple films as well as the necessary bravado. Nathan Fillion (Firefly) was the other obvious candidate. Green Lantern begins shooting in Sydney in January, and this month sees the release of the great looking GL animated film on DVD and Blu-Ray. The live action film is being written by Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Michael Green. Berlanti and Guggenheim created the TV series Eli Stone, while Guggenheim has also written comics such as Blade, Flash and Oni’s Resurrection. Green has dabbled in comics too, with a great run on Superman/Batman and Batman Confidential.

Christian KaneThere’s a host of writers working on comics, film and TV these days. John Rogers is another example. His work on the new Blue Beetle series from DC and on the Global Frequency TV pilot gives him serious fanboy cred. He too is writing for TV now, specifically the new series Leverage which is being guided by Dean Devlin (Stargate) and Rogers. It’s described thusly:

In the series, a renegade team of modern-day Robin Hoods operates outside the law to take revenge against those who use power and wealth to victimize others.  Separately, they’re criminals with reputations for working alone.  Together, they’re the perfect team to turn the tables on the corrupt and level the playing field for the little guy. 

To give it more nerd gratitude, alongside Timothy Hutton it stars Christian Kane (left) from Angel and Aldis Hodge as a sci-fi fanboy. The series has also included Star Trek actors Armin Shimerman and Brent Spiner. That’s a pretty good pop culture pedigree right there. The second series airs July 15 on the U.S TNT network.