Pentagram of Horror #1 ADVANCE REVIEW: Phenomenal art leads off new horror anthology limited series

Writer & Artist: Marco Fontanili.

Cover by Marco Fontanili

Usually I'm all about some Satanic Panic, especially when presented in a horror anthology comic. Give me an issue of The Silver Coin, Provenance of Madness,

The Electric Black, or Tales Told in Techni-Horror and I'll show you wide-eyed anticipation. So suffice to say, when offered a chance to read Scout Comics' new Pentagram of Horror #1, I was ready to make a deal with the Devil for it. Thankfully I didn't surrender my soul for this title, as I was left more than wanting by the end. Though rich in atmosphere and artistic talent, Pentagram of Horror #1 falls short of presenting a compelling short tale, relying on the age-old trope of selling your soul for talent and immediately regretting it, while offering little to set itself apart.

However, The artwork is phenomenal. Brutal, bloody colors paint the background a hellish rouge. The linework is concise and detailed while also conveying a grit, some element of rawness that's right at home with the Devil himself. Fontanili knows how to create a creepy mood and atmosphere with his art. In fact, this is some of the best art in a horror comic I've seen. Eyes and shadows, above all, really stood out to me. The depth of shading made every figure feel dynamic, as if they are actually occupying a space. The eyes, especially the Devil's goat-like eyes, are hypnotic and chilling in their malicious madness.

"What's the price of talent?"

Pentagram of Horror #1 leads with this question, a clever frame meant to entice us into the story, or the answer. Sadly, the answer gives is nothing new: regret and Hell. Anyone who makes a deal with the Devil regrets it ultimately, but the story comes from the moments in-between, the journey from selling one's soul to realizing a mistake was made. These are the moments left out of this book. I desperately wish this story had solid legs under it, though this is a big challenge when one issue is all a writer has. That said, I feel this issue is lacking the one thing that makes this whole situation ironic: a soul.

Don't get me wrong, I will be following this series with great interest. Just as we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, we shouldn't just an anthology by its first entry. Pentagram of Horror #1 is not a bad comic, but it is not the best first impression for an anthology series. The art defines this issue, and defines it well, but I'd love to see the writing up the ante. A former English professor of mine once told me that you have to "earn your abstracts" when writing, meaning that you can't be flaunting abstract concepts in your writing unless you've grounded your reader first. I feel this series could learn from that idea.

Please, do give this book a chance. I'll be waiting giddily for the second issue in the hopes that I'm wrong, but in the meantime go grab Pentagram of Horror #1 from YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP or online when it releases March 23rd! For 32 storyless pages at the devilish price of $6.66, this tale may not be worth the price of admission for most, but may prove a solid investment for the more patient readers.


Austin Kemp read Batman #315 (Batman vs Kite Man) when he was 5 years old, and hasn't stopped reading comics since. Austin is a college writing teacher and has a masters degree in Comics Studies. Austin and his partner, Savanah, live in Massachusetts with their master, a cat named Chaplin.

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