"Next time I'll transmute your public hair into eels" - Mr. Beaumont
L.A and some dude is practicing the dark arts, in fact he is trying to raise a demon for nefarious purposes. Surprisingly he succeeds, though he doesn't quite get it right and the demon he phoned up goes Predator on his arse. Meanwhile psychic Mr. Beaumont is expelling demons from the home of a local socialite. He apparently rids the house of supernatural tenants, but not everyone is impressed with his skills.
Over in the Los Angeles Police Department's Unconventional Incidents Unit detectives Livia and Danik are not having the most riveting day, surprisingly nothing weird happening in L.A recently. That's about to change as the Police are called into investigate the demise of the satanic challenged dude despatched earlier. Just when you think things couldn't get worse the demon goes on a rampage in a local Burger joint, taking out employees and patrons like a deranged Leatherface throwing a tantrum. This time however he is caught on CCTV, oh and he takes a barrel of rainbow peach swirl ice cream!
Just when we all thought Jason Franks might have found gainful employment in his spare time, oh I don't know as a council dog catcher or maybe as a fast food critic, he pops up with a new comic book series to keep us entertained. Well okay we're talking book one here of a graphic novel, and pretty much I have no idea how big this thing could get. So anyway strap on your ice cream scoop and let's check out this bad boy from Winter City Productions.
First up the technical details, for the geeks amongst us who have to know the full skinny, yes hello to the budding Sheldons out there. The book is in standard U.S comic size printed on high quality paper, delivering 28 glorious pages of mayhem and destruction. Did I mention Left Hand Path is in full colour throughout? Full marks to Winter City Productions, they have once again delivered a comic that is high quality and fit for your growing collection. Actually is it just me or have Winter City been on an expansion path recently with a ton of new titles coming at us?
Jason Franks' opening salvo in the series makes for pretty good reading. The script gets the job done while not being over serious, which is surprising given the amount of gore ladled onto the pages. Each character, you can pick the leading ones fairly readily, are well developed and given identifiable personalities. I get a little irrate at scripts that mix and match characters leaving the reader confused as to who is who, Franks is well beyond that little bug bear. Be warned there might be the odd f-bomb going down, guess Fred Nile and the moral majority aren't going to groove to the book, but nothing that should poison impressionable minds, if we exclude the gore and satanic overtones y'all.
What Franks does masterfully well is lay down the groundwork for the novel as a whole in the first book. We have our main characters, we have the antagonist in the form of the demon, and we know we're in for a wild ride. In short, good writing and excellent plot development make for an entertaining read.
Paul Abstruse has been tasked with the artwork and delivers like a Dervisher on speed. We get some pretty cool panels, ranging in style from standard comic to out there notions with a good touch of the horror tones. The artwork should keep even the most ardent fanbois happy with things, assuming they aren't into LuLu and the like. As stated previously the pages are dripping with blood and Abstruse looks like he had a high old time rocking that aspect, total carnage kids, total carnage. I was more than pleased with the art, plenty of detail and lighting sources in use, but not enough to overload and take you out of the story. Paul Abstruse really is one of our best at the craft.
Okay I know everyone wants to know what the demon looks like, thankfully no Buffy puppies here. Abstruse has gone all out in creating the sort of demon you might reasonably expect to run across in one of the Doom sequels. We're talking well develop musculature, honking big horns, and bat like wings. Along with Franks' script Abstruse has made the entity into a character in its own right, outstanding work dudes!
Think I've got things covered folks, though I do have to mention the gore. We get plenty of it, so if not able to handle the hard edge then keep well enough away from this book as it ain't pulling punches. About what you would expect from a demon on the loose, plenty of bodies some of which may be intact!
Jason Franks and Paul Abstruse have delivered yet another title for us to get all enthused over. As a first sortie in what could be a major graphic novel Left Hand Path: Book #1 will have you hooked, the story is developing and the artwork is groovy baby. Winter City Productions have packaged it into a tight bundle that should give you the warm and fuzzes as you spy it down your local comic emporium. I had a great time with the book and have zero problems with recommending you go out and grab a copy ASAP. A novel that deals with a demon on the loose, sign me on board that bus, I'm trampling pensioners to get a good seat!
Left Hand Path: Book #1 has a cover price of $5.50 (AUD and USD) or 3.80 pounds for Pommie readers, we have any? There's an official site right about here, that looks pretty cool but is light on actual content. Winter City Productions have their own place on the web, click, where you can score a copy of not only Left Hand Path but other equally awesome titles. Fingers crossed Franks hasn't taken up a part time career catching errant dogs, I'm fanging for Book #2 in the Left Hand Path series.