Comic Book Review: Redlands #1
A new horror book to add to my pull-list is always my reason for giving a book like Redlands a shot. Though that wasn’t all that grabbed my attention. They pretty much had me at killer witches. I don’t think they could have found a better combination for a reader like me than to combine a horror story with one surrounding magic. So much can go either right or wrong, and you might love every page of it.
From the start of Redlands I felt as though this was right up the alley of anyone who shares the same appeal in storytelling. They wasted no time at all establishing what kind of witches we are dealing with. I enjoyed more that this isn’t one of those stories where you build up to the kind of scene we opened on. They threw us straight into the fire, both figuratively and literally when everything had already gone to shit. It’s a great change of pace from the usual stories where also the witches are either in hiding or afraid of the very people who are hiding from them at the start of this issue. In many ways they tried to turn Redlands into something you haven’t read in recent times. That much anyone should be able to appreciate since there is a right to be skeptical about books like this. Especially when you are looking for horror elements that aren’t too cliche.
Where they go right for this first issue is tapping into the element of fear. These officers are afraid because these witches have given them a reason to be. We don’t know what that reason may be aside from the fact that the officers might have made the first move. Many things you are just taking for what it is and that unknown factor carries the story for it. I felt a chill from these witches considering we don’t see their faces or what we can assume is actually them. Their actions without a doubt are theirs, though the fact that they can create so much chaos without a true presence is excellent.
When it was time for the witches to actually appear, I was taken back by what was not as I assumed. Better even when seeing that these witches are not the stereotype, by appearance at least. There wasn’t too much talking from them, though for now that adds to their mystique. To an extent we did however get an idea as to their personalities based on the way they confronted the sheriff of Redlands.
This art team was perfect for Redlands. It goes without saying this is probably the first time for a number of readers seeing a book where the writer is also the color artist. Nothing too new, but still something you give recognition to when you see it. If you told me that this took place in what is actually Redlands, Florida? I wouldn’t believe you. I could believe it through what looks like hicksville, but not with the scene we stepped into. That was something straight out of a horror movie taking place in an old-fashioned town just like this. The pencils from Vanesa R. Del Rey are rough, but they best match the setting of this story and one reflecting the traditional side to magic. This isn’t waving your fingers or flashy tricks, they give us the real side to magic where they unleash the stuff of nightmares. For the atmosphere set here, there was a smart use of warm colors throughout, grey tones included. Didn’t downplay the violence either as the colors weren’t overpowering, and the pencils were detailed enough to capture the carnage created.
Redlands is not a book you want to sleep on. Hiding your bibles seems like an understatement when you see exactly how this coven of killer witches do take everything from the so-called people who run this town. This creative team struck gold finding a twist to horror that you aren’t seeing anywhere else on shelves right now. Redlands is not witches cowering from the world around them or thinking not existing is a means of survival, they are the wave of change and order.