Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Scarenthood #1 Review


Are you scared of the Divil?

Writer: Nick Roche
Artist: Nick Roche
Colors: Chris O'Halloran
Letters: Shawn Lee
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: November 11, 2020

Review By Luke Hollywood

**Check out our Weekly Indie Comics Podcast HERE, this week featuring Scarenthood #1

Halloween may be over, but it's never too late for a chilling tale of... parenting? Described by the author as a "Horror Comedy", Scarenthood offers a fresh and realistic spin on Irish folklore horror, where the gauntlet of raising your kid might be just as daunting as investigating that creepy sound from the garage. But will Scarenthood deliver on some spooky chuckles, or is this terrifying tale better left to haunt someone else? Read on to find out!

A fan favorite for his work on the popular Transformers: Wrecker Saga, author Nick Roche injects all his energetically expressive artwork and charmingly witty character writing into this debut creator-owned title. In all honestly I was a little skeptical at first as horror titles are not usually in my wheelhouse, but I do know that any new #1 worth it's salt needs to have some engaging characters, and Scarenthood is filled to the brim with them. We're introduced to haggard work from home father Cormac and his little girl Bethany (with the adorably affectionate nickname Scooper), two new arrivals to a sleepy little Irish village. Cormac's already got his hands full with work on top of raising his daughter, so he doesn't make the best first impression to his fellow pre-school parents, an eclectic bunch themselves. 

Roche infuses his cast with refreshingly frank and honest personalities, creating a group here that is instantly appealing to new readers with their bouncy back and fourth banter. While some of the eccentricates of the Irish lingo might be initially confusing for some readers it is also an excellent conveyor of character as we learn the different mannerisms of Flynno, Jen and the rest. With this strong core cast established, it's time to turn to the spooky end of the bargain.

Initially brought up as simple urban (rural?) legend talk of a haunted Scout Hall, Cormac finds himself dragged deeper into the creepy conspiracy as he gets closer to the other parents, especially when the legend gets a decidedly more tragic twist courtesy of Flynno. However, it isn't till Cormac is reluctantly encouraged to do some further investigation himself that the horror really amps up.

These spookier sections are where Colorist O'Halloran and Letterer Lee really flex their muscles, delivering of some ghoulish sound effects and sinister shading and shadow work respectively. A particular sequence inside a dark and narrow crawlspace evokes a fantastic sense of claustrophobia, and cranks up the rising tension tenfold. There is clearly some truth behind at least some of Flynno's tall tales, and Cormac might've just unwittingly found himself in the center of it all. 

 While these eerily otherworldly elements certainly achieve their desired affect of frightening the life out of poor Cormac, Roche isn't afraid to explore the boundaries of conventional horror here. There is a certain quiet terror in Cormac's mysterious state of affairs regarding his seemingly incomplete family. On a similar front a fantastic montage of the frantic reality of parenting with a young child at home evokes a different sense of fear, of absolute responsibilities that you can't run away from. It's a type of dread that hits a lot closer to home than made up monsters that go bump in the night. Later in the issue when both these supernatural and frighteningly normal horrors merge together for a desperate Cormac attempting to reunite with his daughter, the full potential of the Scarenthood title is realized. and with a chilling cliffhanger to haunt your attention till #2, consider me sufficiently spooked indeed!

Bits and Pieces:

Scarenthood #1 delivers on the ambitious horror-comedy concept with effortless ease! The unlikely duo of candid humor and chilling terror have resulted in one of the freshest and most engaging #1's I've read all year, and has me hooked for the rest of this miniseries. The combined efforts of Roche, O'Halloran and Lee have created a truly unique book perfect for horror fans but equally engaging for those who are new to the genre, with a refreshing Irish spin that energizes the cast with remarkable humanity. Don't let the slightly higher price tag scare you away, as this is one new series that is all treat, no tricks!


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