By d. emerson eddy — There are many different kinds of horror. Some horror stories are straightforward monster tales, with a slasher out to get you. Others are more insidious, doling out terror via psychological means. Recently, there has been a push towards mixing the sub-genres, working through ideas and themes that are common across them, and presenting a more cerebral kind of horror, utilizing the things that go bump in the night to make you think about more of the existential terrors in your everyday life. Last Stop on the Red Line #1 appears to be one of those things.
I say “appears” here because it's not entirely clear exactly what route this story is going to take. Being kept off balance, unsure of what's going on, and questioning whether what we're seeing is what's actually happening, is one of the intriguing things about the debut of this limited series. It may seem scattered, especially with one of the point of view characters either literally hearing voices or suffering from schizophrenia, but that choice in storytelling from writer Paul Maybury is one hell of a hook, adding to the mystery being investigated by the other point of view character, a rather trusting police detective. It's offbeat, giving me the feel of Lovecraft, Clive Barker, and the grit of an Ian Rankin or Denise Mina crime thriller. Or maybe if Giles Blunt leaned harder into the supernatural and horror.
Sam Lotfi has an angular style that reminds me a bit of Flaviano and Sami Kivelä that works very well for horror and crime drama, with some very interesting designs for whatever the thing(s) is that's perpetrating the murders. The eeriness and surreal nature of the story is further enhanced with John Rauch's colors, certainly the glow of the green of the monster, but also during Yusef's, our point of view character than might be suffering from schizophrenia, visions of seemingly being transported to the scene of the crime. Adam Pruett also adds a nice feel to the story through his letters, offering up a number of different approaches and styles representing sign language and the voices that Yusef is hearing.
Overall, this is a rather unique, different debut from Maybury, Lotfi, Rauch, and Pruett. It's an intriguing mix of crime and horror, with gorgeous artwork, and some fully realized characters. Dark Horse has been delivering a number of horror series lately that make you think, going deeper into understanding terror, and this is a new one.
Last Stop on the Red Line #1
Writer: Paul Maybury
Artist: Sam Lotfi
Colorist: John Rauch
Letterer: Adam Pruett
Publisher: Dark Horse
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d. emerson eddy is a student and writer of things. He fell in love with comics during Moore, Bissette, & Totleben's run on Swamp Thing and it has been a torrid affair ever since. His madness typically manifests itself on Twitter @93418.