Saturday, March 25, 2017

Underwinter #1 Review and Spoilers (Image)

Written by: Ray Fawkes
Art by: Ray Fawkes
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 22, 2017
Publisher: Image
Review by: Repairman Jack
Underwinter promises to be a collection of twisted portraits of our dark world, and as a pretty long fan of horror and a somewhat new fan of comics I’m excited to dive in on what this new style of horror can bring. With this first story set up to be part one of Symphony, a tale of cruelty and music in the modern age, I’m really interested in seeing what we get.
Knowing nothing about Ray Fawkes and knowing next to nothing about comic book horror I tried to go into this book with a completely open mind. I’ve loved horror all of my life and a longtime fan of the weird in general. At least in the weird department this book doesn’t really disappoint, it may just not do much more for me.
The art right away is just not really for me. I won’t go as far as saying it’s bad because I get what it’s going for, but in general I just found it messy, muddy and a lot of times coming off as just swaths of colors mixed together with some lines drawn on to give things shape. It may be the desired form for this type of story that may be meant to feel like a nightmare and be overall confusing, but it was really not for me.

So we start off with someone recollecting a dream they’ve been having. It involves being played as an instrument almost as torcher. Are we a victim to our art? Are we really playing the music or is the music playing us? Really I just came away from this remembering the dark episode of Hannibal where the cellist turns people into physical instruments and then I wanted to quit reading and go watch Hannibal all over again. Not a great start…
After a scream we get a man admiring the grounds of his huge mansion as Fall seemingly sets in. We get some men carrying in a woman as something seems to have happened to her and the men are told to let her not be seen by others as she departs the rest. It’s left kind of ambiguous as to the woman’s actual state. Are we left to believe this was her nightmare and she has died? Is she dead? I get leaving it all ambiguous as it’s more terrifying, but I don’t even know the state the woman is in entirely. With this we also get some ominous exposition from the man at the window as we learn they have six months to fix or prevent something from happening and what has happened to this woman is going to cause some issues even in spite of the six months.
It is here where we meet our main character as she heads into a diner waiting for a meeting and not much else. We get a lot of yammering from the radio and people in the diner complaining about the radio or TV, but this largely comes off as a lot of nothing. There’s an exchange between the character and a waiter that we later find out was meant to come off as awkward, but we get none of that actually here.  She is met with her band mates as we learn she is waiting for a band meeting which leads to some bickering about who shows up and who doesn’t and overall band drama, but it all feels largely like pointless fodder just taking up space until we get to the point.

The band has apparently been struggling and we learn they have had a gig offering with some weird circumstances. The client wants them to play blindfolded with specific clothing on require no tattoos or piercings. Which is a problem for one of the band members but they choose to cover them up and go along with the gig anyways. After what seems like a child’s finger-painting of a car driving through the hillside, our characters arrive to their gig and at last it is the mansion from the beginning. We learn that beyond the band wearing specific clothes that the client is insisting on his workers dressing the band themselves. Some seem to have issues with this but they go along with it nonetheless.  As they start to play the art seems to get dark around them as we catch a glimpse at what may be going on and honestly I laughed. It isn’t bad, it just looks funny and doesn’t really come off as too scary. I just don’t know what the intentions are and almost wish it would have rather left it ambiguous rather than what we actually saw.
All together I can’t really say I cared for this. The art didn’t really hit with me at all and honestly just seemed bad at some points. Mixed with what felt like horrible pacing and a lot of pointless filler that led to just a laughable reveal really left me having trouble even reviewing this. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t read much comic book horror and had different expectations that set me up for disappointment, but this just felt like a mess.
Bits and Pieces:
With weird pacing, pages and panels feeling like filler in a first issue, washed out and muddy art that really didn’t do much for me really left me down on this book. I have a hard time recommending this to anybody. It had some interesting set up and mystery in the first few pages but seemed to squander it all by time it got to the end reveal that genuinely had me laughing.


1 comment:

  1. It should of said "partly writtten, pretty drawn, and partly colored by ray fawkes"