Review by Dave Caroleo
First one dead was the clown. For no reason, Jay Mitchell picked up a weed-whacker during his son Andy’s birthday party and butchered the whole block; grabbed the knife from the birthday cake, opened his neighbor’s face and gutted his wife. When he was done, he strolled inside, walked up the stairs, went to the crawlspace where the birthday boy was hiding and slaughtered his only son. Green, perfectly-trimmed carpets of lawn, paved black-top drive-ways, seasonal decorations all year round, block parties from stop sign to stop sign, above ground pools, theme-birthday parties, close enough to peer, but far away enough not to care; good old picturesque Leave it to Beaver suburbia. The American Dream soaked in a backyard bloodbath. And the first one dead was the clown.
Random violent outbursts like this were springing up all over suburbia, and the properties were almost immediately bought up by a Jebediah Crone. Richard Ashwalt, a real estate agent, first encountered Crone while doing a walkthrough on the Mitchell house. Creepy, old, complexion like a corpse, came right up from behind him to hand him a card. He wanted the property immediately, would pay extra to get it that night. Richard, creeped out of his skin, refused the sale. That’s when it gets weird. Through research, Ashwalt finds that Crone doesn’t renovate the properties he buys; he doesn’t rent them either. He just removes any of the rooms where the violence occurred, in one instance gutting an entire driveway, and then sells it off at a loss. But to what end? For what reason? And how long as he been doing this?
Real Estate horror, if you can believe it, created by (whatever that means) Darren Lynn Bousman, the guy best known for Saw 2, 3, & 4, Repo!: The Genetic Opera, the Mother’s Day remake, 11-11-11, & possibly the Scanners remake. So his name being attached to this project lends it an already considerable fanbase. What he does for this title other than that, I’m not exactly sure, because apparently the original concept was by Michael Peterson with Rob (Netherworld, editor at Top Cow) Levin, & Troy (Letterer at Top Cow) Peteri signed on as writers. Regardless of the details of his involvement, the writing in this series was true, dare-I-say, original horror crawling with twisted characters, mysterious monsters, murder-houses, torrential downpours of gore, with atmosphere to spare, it never breaks pace, never loses sight of its purpose, and feeds the reader crumbs of information to keep the gray gears turning. This one is for fans of haunted houses, fans of the supernatural & grisly gorehounds alike. It’s like the Chips Ahoy of comics. Betcha can’t read just one issue. To say the least, Radical keeps delivering great horror in the form of FVZA, Driver for the Dead, Ryder on the Storm, and now Abattoir, and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down any time soon. They’re stuffing the market full of great horror, and for that I am forever grateful.
What makes the Radical label stand out above all of its peers is its art; its sleek, glossy, painted panels donning every page. For Christ’s sake, every single panel feels like a portrait you could literally hang on your wall. Almost every book you buy from them, even if the writing is sub-par, is guaranteed to have not just great, but downright fantastic art. It feels like every comic they release was painted by Gabriel (Secret Wars) Del Otto or Greg Horn. The way Bing Cansino’s pencils & Andrei Perkuvian’s paints melt together, it creates a sort of magic on paper. Two magicians casting spells at once. Every page cloaked in atmosphere and dripping with style. In Issue #4, the illustrator changes hands to Wayne Nichols & Rodell Noora, but the difference in art is so minute it’s not even perceptible. Much like other Radical titles, you can tell certain characters were modeled to look like certain actors in case a movie deal should ever [arise, something] that seems to be happening quite a bit nowadays (ie; Hughie of The Boys drawn to look like Simon Peck, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and even Morgan Freeman as Moses Freeman in Driver for the Dead). To that end; keep an eye out for Bill Lumberg in the first issue of Abattoir. Bill, did you get that TPS report, Lumberg! There are other instances in this comic where you’ll recognize certain actors, but I’ll let you discover those for yourself. The Lumberg reference stood out the most to me because I love Office Space so much. I mean, just check out the covers by Tae Young Choi and tell me you are not completely sold on this title.
Click here to read the full article at Horror Happy Hour.