Written by: Joe Hill and Michael Benedetto
Art by: Gabriel Rodriguez
Boy does it feel good to have these guys back again. Locke & Key is one of my all time favorite comic series, so seeing the creators re-team for a horror anthology series made this my most anticipated book of the week. The comic itself is a solid done in one horror story with the potential of even bigger things to come.
The story here is adapted from Hill’s unfortunately failed Tales of the Darkside tv revival, which has been expertly adapted to comic form by Michael Benedetto. The story Sleepwalker of a lifeguard who falls asleep on the job with disastrous consequences is one that works perfectly in comic form. There’s no real awkward transition to the new medium, and since it means getting to see Rodriguez’s gorgeous art once more then I’m all for it. He manages to do some nicely clever panel structure and artistic callbacks that make the story fit naturally in the comic book medium. Horror is always hard to pull off in comics, but Rodriquez is able to nail the creepy atmosphere while keeping the story grounded in the specific kind of horror the book is going for.
While I’ve never seen the original show, it’s very much in the vein of other anthology horror shows like Creepshow or The Twilight Zone, so if those shows are your type of thing this book will be right up your alley. The comic does a great job of leading you in and telling a well paced story within it’s page count. There’s a nice bit of sympathy generated for the main character despite the deserved cosmic justice, and there’s enough heart in the story to definitely make it worth reading. The only real criticism I have is that the story right now is a little unremarkable. It’s enjoyable for sure and I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys these types of morality tales, though it’s not something that’s going to turn the medium on it’s head. The remaining three issues however seem to promise far more layers and hidden depth to the story than is being portrayed on the surface, so it’s definitely one I recommend sticking with, as given what they planned to do with the tv it’s likely to be a very enjoyable read.
I also feel it’s worth pointing out that there’s a nice bit of content in this book, including a story that feels much longer than it’s 20 page count (in a good way) as well as an interview with Hill and Rodriquez that manages to make you feel both excited for the upcoming mini-series as well as crushed that the ambitious ideas never made it to the screen. Locke & Key fans will also want to keep their eyes glued on the last few pages…
Overall though, Tales from the Darkside is a very solid comic from a creative team I’m thrilled to see reunited. There’s a very enjoyable story within these pages that scratches a very specific horror itch for me as well as the promise of great things to come. I really wish this was an ongoing rather than a mini, as I could read these type of stories from these two from now to the end of time, but for now, I can easily recommend this series and am excited to see what comes next.