North 40 – Review

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When Xopher handed me this book the other night with the promise that this book was essentially Evil Dead mixed with Deliverance and H.P. Lovecraft, he had my full attention.

The story for this book is pretty close to how he said it would be, with the opening few pages of the trade paperback giving you what we assume to be all that you need to know when it comes to exposition. You have two bored individuals reading a book that resembles the Necronomicon Ex Mortis from Evil Dead and in doing so, awaken a deep one and send this little hick town down the spiral of insanity.

It’s here that Aaron Williams writing takes hold, the residents all wake up with super or demonic powers that some decided to put to good use, while others…well you’ll just have to check it out for yourself because there are a fair bit of surprises in this book that will make you grin.

I have to say that I really enjoyed the art and coloring of this book. (Eisner nominated Best Artist) Fiona Staples’s art appears to be pencils without inking, which I think really works for this story. I noticed that with the humans, her art was solid and defined, while with some of the possessed/transformed creatures had scratchier art, visually characterizing them as rough, feral, and uncontrolled. In short, a brilliant stroke by any means.

The coloring added to the mood. Mostly it seemed soft, with bland colors which I think created a surreal atmosphere for the story, where reality has been shocked(?) with supernatural or unnatural things. There were at times sharp and vivid coloring because the object was very much real and was solidly defined, it’s here where the coloring differed and reflected just that (like the robot-machine harvesting bodies).

I have one major complaint with this book, otherwise I though it good. The story seemed too slow, and important characters weren’t treated important such as why did Dyna want to release the demons in the first place? Later in the book, a generational connection is established between the sheriff and the Atterall family, when another similar ritual occurred during the Civil War. Does this connect in to what is happening in the now? Consequently, it took until the fifth chapter before things really began moving.

Most of the story seems like one giant setup with all of the craziness continually being explored. I found myself wondering if more people would join in to help with stopping the demons, and if they were even going to get started, let alone finish. Which at the end of the book, you’re left wondering…will there be more? (Which sadly we know the answer is no, since this book collected all six issues of the short-lived miniseries.)

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