The Night Eaters Book 1: She Eats The Night.
Milly and Billy aren't having the best time, right now. Their restaurant is doing... fine (despite Milly's interesting take on customer service) and their personal lives aren't doing that much better. But at least they have a visit from their parents to look forward to, right?
Turns out, not so much. When their mother Ipo decides she wants them to clean up the house next door, things go from bad, to worse, what can only be described as Eldritch.
And this is only the beginning of the story...
It's finally here, people! Rejoice, rejoice with me! A new Horror Graphic novel trilogy by multi-award-winning crafters of excellence Marjorie Lie and Sana Takeda. They've taken a break from winning all the awards with their ongoing Epic Fantasy masterpiece Monstress to ruin my ability to sleep peacefully for the next week or so.
The Night Eaters (I just got that...) is a must for all Horror fans, also for fans of stunning artwork, great character development, or perfectly executed slow burns.
This is a book created by a team that know exactly how good they really are, and have been given the freedom to do what they do best. In many ways, modern comics have become a little like syndicated television, especially from the 'Big Two'. Books feel the need to hit you with everything right from the start, because if that first issue doesn't do huge numbers, there's a good chance the book will be dropped, before you ever get a chance to tell your story.
And then, we have books like The Night Eaters. A slow burn of such creepy intensity that at first glance, it SEEMS like a perfectly normal story about a perfectly normal family. At first glance, anyway.
But, if you go back to look again, or pay attention to what's going on behind the panel, you start to realise just how skillfully and terrifyingly built up the universe is. The brief, scattered hints that something horrific is going on, just out of sight, slowly build up before boiling over in a brutal visceral third act, all wrapped up with an oddly wholesome epilogue.
Milly and Billy are perfect, utterly clueless leads. Typical millennial protagonists just trying to live their own life, out from the shadow of a fierce matriarch, whose struggles they don't, or rather can't, truly understand.
And then we have Ipo and Keon, their long suffering parents, whose story is told in snippets, at the start of each chapter. They have a seemingly perfect marriage, with stern Ipo trying her best to keep the children in line, while the more relaxed Keon makes sure they're happy. But, as with everything in this book, there's a lot more to these two than we could ever know.
Overall, The Night Eaters Book 1 has sunk its claws into me, and I'm not sure I'll be able to stop thinking about it, for a while to come. Liu's character and world building is on perfect display, creating a world and characters that will be instantly recognisable to many, making it all the more shocking when the world is flipped on its head. Despite only having known them for one book, Ipo and Keon are already high on my list of favourite comic book parents!
Meanwhile, Takeda's art is as flawless as always. Her dreamlike, almost watercolour style perfectly highlights the vaguely surreal and grippingly brutal events this first volume holds.
I cannot recommend this first book strongly enough, to anyone that enjoys wholesome family dynamics, well executed character development and/or doesn't want to sleep for the next couple of nights.
You can pick up this volume from the 10th of October from Abrams Comic Arts and your Local Comic Shop, with Volume 2 following in Fall 2023, which really needs to hurry up and get here.
A solid five POPs out of five, for me!
Taheg Gloder is a Freelance Copywriter from England. Obsessed with comics and Manga since his teens, he now splits his time between writing comic reviews and retrospectives for POP, and doing reactions on his YouTube Channel, The Dragon & The Hound. He lives alone, because he’s a hermit.