The year is 1927, and we are in upstate New York. Three men are summoning what I can only assume are demons; one man is in charge, one is being bossed around, and the third is reciting Latin from a book. Things get a little out of hand, and one man, Charles, ends up being sucked into whatever vortex these dudes created. We learn in some caption boxes that the man in charge was N. Tesla (based off of Nikola Tesla—inventor, electrical engineer, physicist, etc.). He gets so scared of what they’ve done that he boxes up their equipment and leaves it in his cabin—at least until he has the nerve to open it up again.
Jump forward 10 years. We are in New York City with two boys, Silas and Edwin. They steal a truck with plans to sell what’s inside. The truck falls on ice and ends up sinking. The boys, however, make it out alive. In the hopes of finding warmth, they enter a cabin (I’m sure you can see where this is going). Lo and behold, they find a box, and decide to open it…
One thing I love about this issue is the opening quote. It reads “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear, is fear of the unknown” –H.P. Lovecraft. To begin a comic book series with a quote this strong from such a well-known horror writer presents a lot of foreshadowing. It’s a really dramatic way to not only introduce us to the rest of the issue, but tell us that we have a horror series coming up.
Corbett and Tripsas write this script with a lot of fairly complex elements in it. For one, they use Nikola Tesla, a man well known to us as one of the greatest engineers and electricians of all time. To take his legacy and apply it to demonology is both unique and imaginative.
When the bulk of the issue starts, we can clearly see both the careful characterization and interaction between Silas and Edwin. Silas is the older brother who bosses around the younger one. He does pretty much everything he wants because he thinks he has a right to. Edwin, being the younger brother, wants to do everything, but needs to wait for Silas’ approval before he does so. The two argue, as all siblings do, but when it comes down to it, they’re always there for each other. For example, when Edwin is drowning, it’s Silas who pulls him out of the freezing water. Despite familial quarrels, these kids are going to stick together for the series, and that’s a heartwarming thing to know.
Samir Simao’s illustrations tell the story really well. The art style is pretty cartoonish for the heavy subject matter, but this gives Simao plenty of room to make the characters’ faces as expressive as he wants. Silas and Edwin look really goofy—I suppose this is to show that they are just two dumb kids who don’t know any better, but it’s a bit off-putting. The line work isn’t perfect, which is definitely the kind of eerie, mysterious, sketchy artwork that I like. When the kids find Tesla’s box, the illustrations radiate a suspenseful tone. Some line work, however, comes off as a bit lazy, like the spider’s web that is fashioned with simple squiggles.
The creative team has done a fantastic job on this issue. It really grabs your attention and is worth the read. This series is the first to be launched through Gray Bear Comics, an independent company run by the writers of this issue: Justin Corbett and George Tripsas. Along with Gray Bear Comics, Justin and George host and co-host podcasts: Comical (Justin) and Metal Geeks (George). Gray Bear is just getting started, so get ready to see some new projects in the future!
Written by: Justin Corbett & George Tripsas
Illustrated by: Samir Simao