Written by: Kyle Starks, Art by: Artyom Topilin, Colours by: Lee Loughridge, Letters by: Pat Brosseau.
It’s night, and two guys await a third by a clearing in the middle of the woods. It’s a double cross and the money they have for the boss, the third guy wants to himself. The woods won’t allow it though, as it butchers one of them, scaring the third man to run for his life. Meet Gabby and Trudy; Gabby’s great aunt has just left them a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. They want a fresh start and the ability to make some money renovating to begin their new life with. Unfortunately, the house comes with three rules: 1. Don’t let the ghosts touch you, 2. Never go into the woods, and 3. If you see the horned man, run. What could possibly go wrong?
I Hate This Place, a new title from Image Comics was one that I hadn’t heard about at all in advance, and from creators who I’m not aware of, so I went into this Advance Review blind and completely open. What I got was an unexpected treat and a horror treasure. With most comics and films tied to one genre, writer Kyle Starks decided (as he puts in a letter in the back of the book) why not merge all sub genres into one book. Why not have aliens, ghosts, and a haunted house, and throw in a murderous psycho for good measure. What could have ended up convoluted with too much going on, ends up being endearing and quirky in a book that wants to be taken seriously but never takes itself too seriously.
It seems Kyle is aware of the standard horror movie tropes and wants to use them or abuse them in the best way possible. Knowing that he can utilise tropes for one subgenre to set up another is such a great concept, and I’m excited to see if we get a mash-up of everything or get each issue as its own different subgenre. This book is clearly not going to be for the faint of heart with its deep roots in horror and its ability to depict gore.
Although I’m not a lover of having profanity in the title of books, I really think the original title suits it quite well now, knowing how this first issue turned out. The point to the book is to get the readers as well as Gabby and Trudy to that point of saying “F*ck this place”; how long would it take until anyone would say that, knowing what horrors await then just outside their farm.
The artwork was pretty good; it has cartoonish elements in a realistic tone that just remind me of Post Americana (see POP's previous Advance Reviews for that title). I really appreciated how Artyom Topilin played with the panel designs, making sure to use not just the panel, but even the borders for things that warrant extra attention (for example see the first interior panel above). As with everything there are drawbacks. Some panels are at odds with how Gabby is presented, sometimes looking feminine and others rather masculine. I also do like landscapes, and the one above made me pause and I could help but focus again on Gabby. Her arms just look slightly too long and it took me out of the story briefly. Other than those art quirks, I thought the depictions of the supernatural events were great, and I can’t wait to see how they are twisted in future issues.
Despite a couple of minor drawbacks, I found this new number one a rather exciting prospect, and I’m looking forward to how the creators pick the challenges for the ladies. Are we going to get a horror buffet all at once, or will things happen slowly one by one?
No matter what, I’m looking forward to continuing with this series, so I’m rating this a solid 3/5 as we are still only one issue in, so can’t judge too much.
I Hate This Place issue 1 will be released by Image Comics on 18th May from your Local Comic Shop as well as comixology
Andrew Carr was blessed to grow up watching the animated series of Batman, X-Men, and his favorite, Spider-Man.This started his dive into the comics world, which resulted in meeting his amazing cosplaying wife Imogen. They live in England with their Sinister Six dogs.