The List Volume 1: The Honouring of Commandments I & II (2008)

Author Paul Bedford
Publisher Dog With A Bone Studios
Layouts Avi Bernshaw, Fleur Andrews
Art and Colours Henry Popiena
Cover Tom Bonin
Genre Pyscho
Country

Talk us through it

A Son inherits a list of commandments from his father, who apparently proceeds to commit suicide as the last commandment of his own list. Mum has already become the sacrifice as The List takes a trip down to religious fanaticism central. In case we aren't getting how serious this is the Son starts inking his list of commandments into his chest.

Various wicked looking blades are apparently the tools the Son will need to complete his commandments and he collects a large kitchen knife, a cut throat razor, and a curved dagger. He apparently will need more "tools" but is pretty certain that the "Angel" will provide them.

While attempting to gain access to a night club the Son battles an over zealous bouncer with fatal consequences for the bouncer. Unfortunately this throws the Son's list of commandments out of order, which is apparently a bad thing.

A cliff hanger ending will have you sweating on getting your hands on volume two. Ready to check out extreme Jesus camp?

Review

"I said that I must enter for I am a purveyor of justice" - Son

Paul Bedford's The List promises to be a dark ride into the depths of religious mania judging from the first of four volumes. The graphic novel is stark, foreboding, and has the impact of a sledge hammer to the skull. If planning on delving into the world of The List then don't take that decision lightly, the book is taking no prisoners, is unapologetic in content, and lurks in the dark undergrowth ready to snatch unweary travellers from the lighted and well trode path of popular fiction. In short The List is unrelentingly harsh in it's horror trappings, and that's just the way we like it. Let's break it down and get you on the road to enlightenment.

Structurally the first volume is broken down into a serious of parts that get us out of the station and along the tracks to fun times in fine fashion. "The First Passing of the Birthright" sees the Son receive his list from his father, who apparently commits suicide as his final task on an individual "quest". I'm saying "apparently" here as Paul Bedford's story is not as clear cut and simple as it first appears. Paul, and I'm assuming here, is after a much darker tale than simple religious paranoia gone wrong. Even at this early stage there's a hint that not all is as it seems. "An Honouring of the First Commandment" see's the Son collect the "tools" of his own quest, and given we're talking some wicked looking blades the quest promises to be a blood soaked one. "An Honouring of the Second Commandment" reinforces the thought that Paul Bedford is going to be taking no prisoners with this graphic novel, the violence screams off the page. We round out with further hints that the Son might have a few Roos loose in the top paddock, and I was left scrambling for the second volume with the final panel of The List volume 1 throwing an apparent supernatural twist into proceedings.

Paul Bedford's narration is misery in the extreme, nothing unnecessary is being thrown at the reader, which is kind of chilling in itself to be honest. About everything is from the Son's POV, so we are talking twisted sister here, with the odd bit of dialogue coming from other characters where required. If you have a problem with the f bomb then The List is going to have you blushing like your maiden aunt at a strip show. Hey Sex and the City dropped the "c" word on prime time, Pandora's box well and truly opened friends and neighbour, and I'm pleased to see characters using some strong language when faced with the chaos of horror. Anyone else wondering how many New Yorkers go to finishing school after the oh so polite drawing room saga that Cloverfield turned out to be? Two thumbs up to Paul Bedford, if some maniac with a blood soaked jacket was headed my way I might drop the odd expletive as well to be honest.

Needless to say Paul Bedford's story is intriguing, full of subtle nuances, and likely to be one twisted hay ride. Excellent stuff, someone should pick up the script the graphic novel is based on and make the movie. Dexter Morgan and Hannibal Lector have nothing on the Son. Paul Bedford penned the script as well.

Wayne Nichols created the distinctive and impactful front cover. I'm basing that opinion on online images of the cover as my review copy, thanks Paul, actually sported the cover of volume 2. There's definitely a religious spin to things going down, but as stated above that could well be misleading. Enlightenment may not be what the Son thinks it is. Suicide for example is a mortal sin, hardly the action that's likely to have the heavenly glee club clapping and screaming for more. Nichols artwork for the cover continues the stark nature of the graphic novel and remains a fitting introduction to the world of The List.

The majority of the actual panels in the novel proper are two tone black and white pencil and ink illustrations. It's a forceful presentation of the subject matter. Characters are well conceived and the presentation is superb. For flashbacks, necessary to flesh out the story line, we have a taupe background colour. And before anyone asks my wife made the call on the taupe as I had no idea. Overall if you have read U.S publications like Eerie then you will be hip to the groove here.

In the final wash up The List volume one leaves a lot more questions unanswered than it attempts to close out. There's a strong hint that the Son might not be the most balance person in the world, he see's people who aren't there, and what is presented as fact might actually be a smoke screen for a far more disturbing concept. As the volume closes out Paul Bedford has the reader hooked and ready for more.

Summary Execution ...

I read through the first volume a few times as it's not giving up it's secrets without a struggle on the part of the reader. That's a good thing for readers who don't wish to be spoon feed everything. The storyline is engrossing, and disturbing, and the artwork presents the bleak tone of an urban nightmare. With three volumes to come, The List has me ready for more.

The List can be sourced direct from the website The List. Currently volumes one and two are available with the third volume in production. The graphic novel site itself is worth digging around as there's plenty of information to be gleaned on the background to The List.

If you like your horror reading dark, taking no prisoners, and ready to assail the senses then dive on into The List. It promises to become a classic of Down Under graphic horror and is one not to miss. The road to enlightenment is not going to be easy folks, but it's going to be one hell of a ride.

ScaryMinds Rates this read as ...

A solid eight and a solid start to proceedings. Order your copy today!