Review by Ryne Barber
I’ll be honest – I didn’t know what an abattoir was until I looked it up after seeing this comic. But it’s a pretty cool word, and I like it as a title for this first issue of the Darren Lynn Bousman-created series. From Merriam-Webster, “abattoir” is simply a slaughterhouse – and based on the first few pages of issue one, the title is apt.
Writers Rob Levin and Troy Peteri start the series with a kid’s birthday party, where the father, Jay Mitchell, motivated by a deep hatred for his wife’s forcefulness and his strange migraine, goes on a killing spree with both a weedeater and knife. A bloodbath ensues, with fantastic artwork by Bing Cansino that’s full of blood, guts, and heavy shadow, ringing in the opening with a wonderful fountain of grotesquery.
Then we meet Richard, a real estate agent who’s slowly failing at his job with the poor market. The Mitchell house is up for sale, and it’s Richard’s job to try to sell the bloodstained home to some lucky customers. Feeling down on his luck, he heads out to the house with his friend after a few beers; exploring the house, with the blood and gore still staining the walls, Richard finds a mysterious old man named Jebediah standing in the shadows. He offers to buy the house off of Richard as is, without any cleanup or paper work. Richard explains he can’t, then decides the next day to call and settle the agreement. And just as Richard thinks he lost the sale, Jebediah shows up uninvited for dinner at Richard’s house.
The search of the house is the stand-out scene, both because of the gloom of Cansino’s artwork and the deep-cut creases and folds in Jebediah’s skin that makes him look incredibly eerie. Levin and Peteri are definitely interested in creeping the reader out; while characterization of Richard is important and plays a small role in the first issue, it’s evident that the writers are more concerned with setting up the horror plot that will inevitably affect Richard and his family.
Jebediah remains a character shrouded in mystery; the only explanation we get about his odd behavior is the fact that he might be a strange man who buys up property and then quickly moves out of the area. But thanks to the work of Cansino, Levin, and Peteri, Jebediah remains affecting to the reader without much development – and it seems fairly obvious his character will only become more menacing with time.
Slash to the Point: Abattoir‘s disturbing first issue leaves the spine tingling for more. The questions issue one leaves us with are more than enough to keep the reader coming back, and I can’t commend Cansino’s art style enough; it craftily complements the mood of the writing. I’m absolutely looking forward to more from this slaughterhouse comic.
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