COMICS REVIEW: "Leave On The Light #1"

Leave On The Light #1 (2019) by Golden, Aguilar, and Sarbia is the first of a three-part mini-series that began as a Kickstarter and is now published by Antarctic Press. Golden envisions the story herein as one that links to others in a horror world for Antarctic Press.

The story involves a gruesome murder and a link to the past that haunts a detective. We're introduced to partners Gary Marshall and Sarah McKinney, a detective and an officer of the NYPD. They're put on a case that is literally vomit-inducing. And let me add, the first few pages gave me chills. Golden divulges the story synopsis here, on his original Kickstarter page, so I won't go into details:

There really is a ton hat works well in this issue.

Firstly, the art is great. Horror is not an easy genre to tackle in any medium. For it to work in comics particularly, there needs to be lots of shadow play, and the right editing to ensure the reader is not able to see what's coming. The use of gray tones in this issue works two-fold: first, it creates a dark atmosphere, great for horror and noir. Considering this story involves police, the noir aspect is highly important. Secondly, it's a good contrast to the gruesomeness of the story. I won't spoil the beginning, but let's just say it's not pretty.

That said, there were a few beats that didn't really land.

The storytelling is good, for instance; fast-paced, good mood setting, and characters we can already tell have storied pasts. However, the dialogue is a bit forced. Sometimes no words are better than poorly chosen ones, and in this case I feel like the story could have done better with a wink and a nod on certain panels. A little more "show" and less "tell".

The authors are world-building, and we get a glimpse of this through locations (Bradford, NY and New York City specifically shown, with a mention of Corning.) The problem is, Bradford, NY is in upstate New York (so is Corning.) So why would NYPD officers be called to a homicide case five hours away? That plot hole threw me for a loop, but it can be easily rectified, I'm certain.

Again, horror is probably one of the most difficult genres in any medium, but specifically in comics. Leave On The Light does a decent job at starting what could potentially be a good mini-series, and subsequently building a larger world for Antarctic Press. With some tweaks, mentioned above, and some more in-depth editing, it could be on par with some of its contemporaries (Wytches comes to mind). It'll be interesting to see where the next two issues go, moving forward.

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