Saturday, 27 February 2016

Colder, Volume 1 Review (Paul Tobin, Juan Ferreyra)

Declan is a catatonic invalid who’s been “frozen” young for 70 years. Reece is his minder. Nimble Jack is an interdimensional demon who wants to eat Declan’s soul. Yup, that old chestnut - oh, the fun they have together!

I’m surprised Colder isn’t more well-known – this comic is great! Paul “Bandette” Tobin and artist Juan Ferreyra concoct a relatively simple cat’n’mouse storyline with astonishingly brilliant horror visuals that’s really good fun to read. I can’t stress how good Ferreyra’s painted art is. His Nimble Jack looks like Joker without the green hair and he is creepy as hell. Because he’s this weird demon creature, he moves around really oddly and unlike any human does – a bit like a contortionist. And the visual of Jack “eating” souls is really excellent too with a great use of colour. 

Ferreyra depicts “the Hungry World” (Jack’s hidden realm that exists alongside ours) as this nightmarish windswept place with crazy looming Escher-like architecture that looks wonderfully gothic. It’s populated with the kinds of monsters that HP Lovecraft probably saw when he wrote his stories, and some that are easier to describe like one-eyed people (as in they have no heads, just one big eye) and giant dogs. By far the most disturbing visuals is the body horror like when Jack emerges from within a homeless man’s mouth or when he “opens up” Declan’s head like he were a machine – just incredible artwork. 

Tobin is on fine form too, crafting a fast-moving and compelling original narrative without the plodding pace that sometimes accompanies introductory first volumes. Declan is a strong protagonist – likeable, funny, flawed - though Nimble Jack is the star of the show; like Joker, he’s the guy you love to hate and he’s always doing something interesting whenever he’s on page. 

I had a couple of reservations about the script – Reece is a bit of a weak, traditional female character, relegated to the role of damsel in distress for the majority of the book, and the exposition between her and the cop in the first issue came off as quite clumsy (cop asks pertinent question, Reece replies, repeat). Mostly though Tobin did a great job, especially in choosing a straightforward chase plotline for the first volume rather than attempt something overly complicated on top of all the world-building. 

Colder Volume 1 is a very good fantasy horror thriller comic with a brilliant antagonist and even better visuals – great stuff and well worth checking out!

Colder, Volume 1

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