"Being a successful entrepreneur is not a crime" - Donald Swanson
So I was asking what I could review, having been on the lack end of the stick over the past few weeks, and naturally for my sins the Editor tossed a comic in my direction. Careful what you ask for in horror right? Now okay you may be thinking, comic neat-o, except I'm not a comic dude. Sure as a teenager I dabbled in those Marvel comics a bit, graduated to the U.S horror books, but generally the only exposure to comics I get currently is the strips in the morning newspaper. Since this is new territory they did pass on the first couple of books in this series so at least I'm not going in blind. So as a non-comic person how did I find Winter City Book Three?
Guess y'all want to know what went down in this issue. Big breath, our masked avenger of past wrongs visits with Donald Swanson, another fat cat who made his dough off the still warm bodies of those less fortunate or at least cut throat than he is. Swanson doesn't come out of the meeting with any warm fuzzy feelings. Did I mention the flashback to Sam Winters aged twelve, still being brutalised by his Uncle Norman? Sam is now a fully-fledged pig slaughter man, is there a name for that? - who is getting ground up by his life on the farm. Strangely Uncle Norman, in between bouts of child abuse, makes medieval armour, wtf? People dying in the snow is the common element between the two story lines, guess that'll take some explaining in a later book in the series.
Our two Detectives are still lukewarm on the case but are starting to join the dots. They are beginning to wonder if the Psycho has a list, and just how long that list might be. The comic finishes with the Detectives seeing something that we don't, that conclusively proves that the current murder spree isn't over. Is there a fat lady somewhere?
Guess if I had to describe this comic it would be sort of a cross between that Doctor Doom fella that the Fantastic Four had to deal with and Dexter with more time on his hands than the blood lab and family commitments allow. We're talking almost a supernatural presence, hope that's not a plot twist - uhmm spoiler, with a set agenda. We are starting by book 3 to find out just what that agenda might be, and the background of our vigilante, but the full story isn't written in stone yet. I'm going to put my hand up and admit to becoming intrigued by where things might be going and exactly what the background story unfolding is all about. Actually if I had to draw a parallel, which I don't but other people on this site do, it would be to Jet Lee's The Crow. So if you like that sort of revenant superhero vigilante package then this is the book to whet your knife prior to hunting down the people that kicked sand in your face that time at the beach. Maybe that's just my weekend gig?
The Purcell Brothers, who clearly have way too much time on their hands, are laying down one effective plot here. For those who haven't attempted Winter City yet, they have twin timelines running, backing a murder spree that is both dripping in blood and with a purpose. So as opposed to Dexter's almost random selection of victims our dark knight is picking off crims to a fixed agenda. I'm deep into the plot now, helps to read three comics back to back, and am sweating on the release of the fourth book in the series. Apparently there are going to be twelve, which just so happens to match a certain religious thing, so plenty of reading heading my way. Each issue seems to focus on a single main murder, some henchmen tend to go down if they get in the way, and a continued development of the back story. I know a lot of ScaryMinds readers were more than upset by Rob Zombie's absolute travesty in trying to background Michael Meyers, what he read a Sunday supplement about serial killers? - but you needn't worry with Winter City, the Purcells have your back. So yeah good writing, I'm told it's called a script in comic book circles, that will have you wanting to read more. I'm just wondering how they are going to fit lesbian samurai into the story, it does have that element right? Okay maybe that's just me wanting that plot development.
Roped into the doing the artwork is the multi-talented Pablo Verdugo Munoz who manages to channel those Marvel comics I was talking about mixed up with some good old fashion comic sensibilities. It's fairly awesome to view, Munoz has the blood drenching down with the action vibe that keeps you turning the page. There's definitely a supernatural flavour to things, though this might just be to get across the terror of the victims or something. Anyways Munoz does the crazy differing size panels that keep things from becoming development board straight. Do they do development boards in comics? The art is in full colour, with an attention to detail that will blow your socks off. I'm always appreciative of folk like Munoz that take their horror seriously, while including … okay that's definitely just me.
Hope I've covered all the bases here, and big thanks to the team for throwing this book in my direction. Am having a good time with Winter City, we're talking one epically scoped graphic novel here, and can't wait to sink my teeth into the next instalment. Actually I note a few more comics on the review queue so might just grab something in the interim, had forgotten these things are actually cool to read. If you haven't read a comic in yonks, then throw off the requirements of social responsibility and score yourself some of this book, good entertainment value that will have you fully immersed. For those who have been digging comics, and by our comic section some of our guys have been down this road, then add Winter City to your reading list.
Winter City is available via the official site and ships in either electronic or printed formats. A number of language options are available for those not in the English speaking world. Check the site for the good oil on the full series. Thanks for reading, normal movie transmission will resume in due course.