John Lees (Author) • Ryan Lee (Artist/Cover Artist) • Doug Garbark (Colorist) • IDW Publishing
Reviewed By A.S. MacKenzie
- Print Length: 32 pages
- Publisher: IDW (August 2019)
I’m growing in my appreciation of horror comics. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love comics and always have. My digital collection of comics, large as it may be, pales in comparison to my collection of printed comics. Everything from horror to sci-fi to fantasy to humor to your garden variety superhero, I want to read them all. This also has the downside that it means I get picky with comics. If I don’t think it can hold my interest, I resort to skimming it and moving on. Lately, however, the number of fresh voices particularly in the horror genre, coming out of publishing houses like IDW has kept me happily entertained.
One such new comic is the just-released Mountainhead, which is the first of five in this short run. With unique artwork and a storyline that is intriguing from the first page, I am going to be well hooked by the time it concludes.
The story gets its name in the first page by explaining that for some there is a sort of madness that comes over them if they spend too much time high in the mountains. They lose themselves, act out sometimes violently, and it is called ‘mountainhead’. Now, this doesn’t make sense to the story from the first page, but what does happen keeps me reading.
Abraham Stubbs is thirteen-year-old burglar along with his dad, Noah, and we meet them as they rob a home. Noah takes the time to mention that people have an obsession with stuff and they need to do whatever they can to avoid the trap of thinking stuff is the answer in their life. Later on, in a motel, where you’re given the impression they only ever spend time in motels, we find that Noah has some deeply rooted mental issues and his view on society at large is skewed in that he constantly feels there is always some faceless team of men ready to drag him into a life of normality. He asks his son to kill him if that day ever comes.
When the duo again tries to burgle a home, they accidentally stumble into one that is occupied and the police are called. When a standoff occurs, Noah raises his gun to shoot Abraham but is instead disarmed by the police. Abraham’s life takes a strange turn after this. Turns out, Noah isn’t his real father. Noah took him from a family in British Columbia when he was three. They have been looking for him ever since and he is going to be sent home, a place he has no memory of. Upon arrival, he meets the people introduced to him as his parents but he doesn’t know them. At that same time, a half-naked man stumbles from the snow-capped forest mumbling incoherently and collapses in front of them.
At the end of this first issue, we are taken to the edge of where the real story begins. Who is Abraham really? Why did the man stumble out of the woods? Why does Abraham have visions and nightmares of red-eyed demons? What is really going to break down the door and take him away?
Tension in this thrilling horror story is getting tighter and the next four issues promise to bring it to a breaking point of potentially bloody violence. The writing is crisp and the dialogue is genuine. The artwork conveys a lingering insanity outside the edges and promises to fulfil any and all violent need.
Mountainhead will be the next big title in horror comics and we should all be entirely grateful for it.
Abraham Stubbs and his father Noah roam America in a nomadic existence. Convinced they are being pursued by sinister government forces, Noah has them living off the grid, burgling houses to survive. Elsewhere, on Mount Rector, the lone survivor of a climbing expedition staggers homeward, covered in blood. Both are on an inevitable collision course with the picturesque Canadian resort town of Braeriach.
From writer John Lees (Sink) and artist Ryan Lee (Archer & Armstrong), featuring colors from Doug Garbark and letters from Shawn Lee.
You can buy Mountainhead from IDW Publishing
A. S. MacKenzie
A. S. MacKenzie is an Atlanta based author who loves all things books, movies, games, and comics. He lives with his wife, spoiled dogs, and an unhealthy obsession with building things. He can be found building worlds in books, building plastic models, or building with wood. Check out his website at asmackenzie.com for ways to join his newsletter and read free stories. Also, he’s been known to frequent Twitter (@a_s_mackenzie) to say something vaguely interesting and Instagram (a.s.mackenzie) for food, travel, and random pics.
Ice Where There Was None
A block of ice in a Florida park. A victim posed inside.
The first officers on the scene struggle to maintain the melting evidence.
Then it happens again.
…and again….and again…
While the officers wonder why they are always the first on scene, their department begins to wonder the same.
You can claim a copy of Ice Where There Was None via A.S. MacKenzie’s library