Review by Holly von Winckel
From the very first line of dialog, I knew this was going to get ugly. (“Honey, did you pay the clown?”) Nothing good starts with clowns, so it was not a great surprise when the birthday party took a rapid downturn, going from merely unfortunate in the sense of having a clown at all, to really unpleasant, as blood sprayed everywhere, and a great deal of screaming and murdering got underway.
And that’s just the prologue! For fans of splatter, this may be the best part of Abattoir #1, because the remainder of this issue is more about set-up and suspense than it is about the kind of blood geysers that make or break a child’s birthday party. If you’re a struggling two job family man, this is a poignant comic about making hard choices and confronting ethical dilemmas as you bust your hump to keep the fam fed and the mortgage paid. If you’re a creepy, wrinkly old guy, this is a slow-moving comic about worming your way into someone’s normal, boring life so you can explode it from the inside, most likely with a shocking amount of gore. If you are a shocking amount of gore, this is a comic about jumping out of people suddenly at children’s birthday parties and surprising everyone, and then wondering why no one hires you to do weddings or bar mitzvahs.
Abattoir #1 is just at the beginning of a series of six, and I’m expecting that it will ripen into a more coherent and faster paced story as it progresses. It has already reminded me of many of my favorites for goose bumps and hairs standing up from my youth. Certainly not a coincidence that was at the exact time the story is set. The art is a low color key, without actually being dark, while the mixture of viewing angles and panel arrangements give each page a fairly dynamic feel. On a purely speculative level, I can only hope the Bill Lumbergh-homage boss (a la Office Space) character gets his just deserts.
Perhaps this is remedial to spell out, but for the sake of form, I will do it anyway. If you like splatter comics with a hint of supernatural meddling, you will probably like this. If you don’t like splatter comics, you probably won’t like this. Don’t leave this laying around, if someone reads it and gets nightmares about clowns hunting them down and disemboweling them, it’s your fault.
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