Curse #1 Review

Curse_01_rev_Page_1Released last week was the debut issue of this new four issue mini-series from BOOM! Studios. It’s got werewolves in it. With Teen Wolf and the new series Bitten starring Laura Vandevoort (Supergirl on Smallville), could werewolves be the new vampires or zombies? If Curse, has anything to say about it, then yes, and what it does say, it says in style.

Written by Michael Moreci and Tim Daniel and with art by Colin Lorimer, and Riley Rossmo, Curse is so far, a horror debut executed very well.

The creators may not necessarily be household names in the world of comics, but they have some impressive titles on their resume, with Moreci’s work on Hoax Hunters, and Daniel’s on Enormous, both with Image Comics. Lorimer created UXB in the pages of Dark Horse Presents, and Rosmo has crafted the art for Drumhellar and Cowboy Ninja Viking, both from Image Comics.

As you can see by the preview pages after the jump, it starts in a most intriguing fashion. Two men – one chained, and one angry. Then we see how they got there.Well, we get hints as to how they got there in this premiere.

Laney Griffin is a former pro football player (the American kind of football, that is). His sister-in-law Nora is a cop who wants to care for Laney’s sick son Jaren. Laney is able to barely keep up his financial responsibilities in caring for Jaren, but he’s also fiercely devoted to doing so.

Nora is in the midst of investigating some recent, mysterious and gruesome deaths in their snow covered suburb, when a reward is offered, so a desperate Laney takes his hunting supplies, motivated by the need for the bounty and discovers what’s really behind the killings. The plot may seem simple at first glance, and the prologue isn’t dealt with in this issue, but certainly will in next month’s, but Curse is off to a rollicking start. It’s also a surprising start, with characterisation and exposition driven by dialogue, not narration, which is always the mark of a good storyteller.

With four people behind this comic, it could dangerously be disjointed, but the singular vision behind Curse is its greatest asset. Laney’s motivations ring true, even with only a brief scene with his scared son, and with all the characters on the stage, there’s sure to be some interesting friction, and tough choices, ahead.

Rosmo’s art takes a backseat here, but it works well, with his sketchy style used only for bloody flashbacks. Lorimer takes charge with the majority of the pages and does a fantastic job, especially with the last few, largely silent pages of man vs beast in a dangerous, snowy landscape. The pacing and the panel arrangements give great weight and tension to that sequence in particular. With the preceding pages, Lorimer shows great skill in capturing the essence of the handful of characters and how they interact, with all the body language and drama that goes with characters who have a lot of emotional baggage.

Curse subverts the horror genre well. In fact, so far it hardly seems like a traditional horror comic, with its focus on familial drama, but like a whistling kettle, you just know there’s something boiling away under the surafce. I’m certainly looking forward to the next three issues.

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