VJ Boyd & Justin Boyd (Authors) • Clay McCormack (Artist) • Chris Burnham (Cover Artist) • IDW Publishing
Reviewed By A.S. MacKenzie
- Print Length: 144 pages
- Publisher: IDW (September 2019)
When it comes to horror comics, there are more misses than hits lately. Which is saying something considering the comic medium has brought us tales of horror and the macabre for decades. Not to say the medium is in decline, just that it seemed to switch emphasis away from horror in favor of thriller fantasy, sci-fi, and supernatural stories. So, when a horror comic comes along that brings with it all of the intensity of a classic horror story with the nail-biting tension of a modern noir mystery, you pay attention.
IDW released a 5-issue run of Night Moves that opens the door to many more stories in this newly minted world. It follows a two-bit conman named Chris Dundee who operates in Vegas. He doesn’t believe in the supernatural, religion, or really anything that can’t get him a score against some unsuspecting mark. However, when he randomly meets Detective Alexis Rohm, she inadvertently brings the both of them into a world of demons, sacrifice, blood, and the occult.
The two are looking for a friend of Chris’ who might know something about a murder Detective Rohm is working on. Chris does his best to delay the investigation for her because she is a friend and he tries to keep an eye on her. When she ends up dead in his apartment, he tracks down a local crime boss and casino owner who also just so happens to be the host for an ancient demon.
The story carries itself through several years, told through a flashback from 40 years in the future. Each chapter takes Chris and the now-former officer, Alexis, further into the realm of this demon, another demon, a near defunct sect of the Catholic church that fights the demons, acolytes, corruption, murder, and on and on. It culminates in the modern-day, 40 years in the future, with an ending that neither of them wanted.
The dialog written for these characters feels in tone, giving them each a unique voice that doesn’t get lost on the page among all the speech bubbles. A great example comes in the fourth issue when Alexis is getting frustrated with Chris’ desire to just shoot the demons and she replies completely in character with, “Maybe if you shoot the demon harder, this time.” The dialogue flow from beginning to end is impressive in that even though it is without a doubt a horror story first, the violence and gore are secondary to the journey each character takes. Then the unique creation of the demons and monsters show an imagination and world-building that will serve this franchise well in the future. Much like the Mignola universe, this has the potential to grow and become many different iterations involving familiar characters.
Artwork is at times simplistic, but never dull or ordinary. While it doesn’t have the smooth-edged polish of a lot of modern comics, the art carries with it the atmosphere of this horror noir and gives it the edge needed to make the demons and violence a part of it. Honestly, I’m not sure it would work with any other style and by the end when you flip back through and see some of the panels again, you can tell how the background and character drawing styles conveyed as much of the tension as the words did, sometimes even more.
The trade paperback of all 5 issues will be releasing soon and if you have the desire to feast upon some truly gritty noir in the shape of a horror comic, then this is the book for you.
Noir meets horror as small-time Vegas hustler Chris Dundee finds himself tangled in a web of danger and the occult. He’s been on the wrong end of a pair of brass knuckles plenty of times, but this time he might be dealing with the devil himself.
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