Advanced Review: Blood Feud #1

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Posted August 25, 2015 by Josh McCullough in Comic Books

Note: This is an advanced review of a comic that will be on sale October 7th

Written by: Cullen Bunn

Art by: Drew Moss and Nick Filardi

Publisher: Oni Press

Halloween is just around the corner, and while I don’t know about you, it’s my favorite time of year. I love having a month devoted to the creepiest movies, games and, of course, comics to binge through. This year Cullen Bunn and Drew Moss have offered up Blood Fued, a comic done in the style of 80s horror flicks that features a lot of charisma and manages to balance long standing horror tropes without making them feel like a joke. Aside from some odd pacing issues, Blood Feud looks to be a ton of fun this Halloween.

The story takes places in the humble little southern town of Spider Creek, a self described “one horse town” perfectly suited to former football player and main protagonist R.F. The only problem with the town seems to be the eponymous “Blood Feud” between the Stubs family and the mysterious Whatley clan. Mysterious omens begin occurring in the town which result in R.F. and his friends Cecil and Big Jack, alongside Sue Hatchell, a spider researcher from the big city, getting involved in the ages old feud. What I liked most about this story was the tongue in cheek tone that poked a little bit of fun at the cheesy 80s movies that inspired it without ever devolving into parody. It’s more Cabin in the Woods than Scary Movie. The book oozes charm and personality with Spider Creek itself almost being the most enjoyable character. The town’s history feels real and exploring different areas gave it a very authentic charm, especially given how on the nose a lot of the names are (could “Spider Creek” be anything other than the setting for a horror story?). The characters too avoid the usual southern tropes of being rednecks or other such stereotypes. Instead they feel like likable characters perfectly suited to deal with the sort of horror to come in upcoming issues. The books seems knowingly aware of its own roots yet never chooses to take potshots for cheap laughs, instead it builds a nice setting and fills it with fun characters for what looks to be a very enjoyable story.

This charming, fun approach to classic horror movies also translates perfectly to the art, particularly through its use of colours. Spider Creek captures the “lazy town” feel perfectly, with friendly neighbors and an idyllic neighborhood perfectly captured by Moss’ pencils. The characters too have very different and expressive character models, once more making them feel less like stereotypes and more like charming amalgamations of horror movie tropes (trust me there is a difference, these characters I’d actually want to survive to the end of the story). Things really come to life though with the colours of Nick Filardi who really gives the book the feeling of classic horror flicks. The mundane yet peaceful colours of Spider Creek lull the reader in to the relaxing setting, before making them feel uneasy with the darker hues of night, making the reader anxious that something is going to happen. It really drives home the feeling of the book and captures the tone well. The art does a stand up job of capturing all the personality of the script and making it work naturally on page.

Really, the only sort of problem I had with the book is the pacing. There’s a nice thread of supernatural unease running through the book, but the supernatural events themselves spike up and down throughout the book without really having a slow rise or build up. For example, there’s quite an uneasy scene early on involving some frogs, but as I’d just got settled in to the idyllic town in sort of caught me off guard. The townsfolk themselves also don’t seem to react too much, so it made me a little confused as to whether or not this was the norm in town. There’s also a disappointing lack of these big creepy moments, something Bunn usually excels at. He’s had previous success on books like Army of Darkness and Venom, and even more recently with the disturbingly creative Hellbreak so I was a little disappointed that there were only a few spooky moments in the issue. There is quite a big one at the very end of the issue which definitely makes me want to come back for more, and I know Bunn is most likely trying to build up tension and save stuff for later issues, but given how on the nose and occasionally over the top the book plays its horror tropes, I was hoping for a little more craziness going into the comic. This is more of a personal expectations thing though, what is in the book is still great and makes for a fun read.

Blood Feud is a great start to a series that knows exactly what it wants to be; it’s fun, it’s got a lot of character and it perfectly scratches that Halloween itch. If you’re a fan of Bunn’s work, cheesy 80s horror movies or just fun comics in general then this is definitely worth checking out. While I wish Bunn could’ve pushed a little further in the supernatural department, there’s still plenty to enjoy in this book. If you’re looking for comics to read this Halloween then this is one you should definitely check out.

If you’re interested in obtaining a copy of Blood Fued #1, ask your local retailer to order you a copy with the order code AUG151627

Blood Feud #1

8.5

Final Score


8.5/10

Pros

  • Nails the 80s horror aesthetics
  • Lots of charm and personality in both the characters and the time
  • Creepy last page reveal

Cons

  • Pacing is a little irregular
  • Could use a little more supernatural creepiness



About the Author

Josh McCullough

A writer at WTN Josh is a huge comic fan whose tastes edge towards the strange and surreal. If there's one thing he loves more than comics then it's Doctor who. Never try and argue with him that there's a better doctor than Sylvester McCoy. Any fedoras that would make good press hats should be sent to his PO Box.