Review: Diablo House #3
Written by: Ted Adams
Colours: Jay Fotos
Letters: Robbie Robins
Publisher: IDW Comics
‘Grease monkeys and race junkies, start your engines! Two friends battle it out in the San Diego racing scene to become #1! A trip to Diablo House gives one racer an advantage… but everything has a cost!’
The landing of another Diablo House issue is a more than welcome one, as far as I’m concerned. The series has, so far, added another layer of stylish, retro flavoured fear to the shelves of my LCBS and the 60’s influence doesn’t just stop at the settings or content but rightly spills over onto the fonts, cover art and tone. It’s a classic throwback to an age when comics were picked up by way-too-young kids for pocketmoney change, and a time when the horrors between the pages were new and exciting. The big question is, can IDW pull off the same freshness and the same levels of abject fear that readers experienced back in the day?
Throughout the book, the writing is presented in third person, narrated by the book’s morbid host Riley who, despite his ripped surfer-type looks, no doubt, has a horrific backstory to share. The narrator advances the tale, in this case one of a fatherless pertrol-head who desires nothing more than a winner’s trophy to adorn his race car trophy haul, and adds a sense of timelessness to the whole affair. The setting stemming out from the 40’s is perfect for the gas-fueled action but the real tale is in the heart and desire of the young star of the issue who, after losing his father in a racing accident, wishes to emulate his success, at any cost. This leads to some tense action and a gruesome, if a little expected, climax.
For the most part, the artwork is bang on the money. Bright colour palates bring the fine, realistic pencil work to life and the attention to detail is superb. Backgrounds are filled with wily figures caught mid-action which adds to the atmosphere throughout. Facial expressions are over the top and bursting with excessive delight, horror or passion depending on the sequence. Particularly stunning are the heat vapours, smoke and tyre burn that hangs in the air at the racetracks, or in the earlier frames in the battlefield. It all adds up to create a feisty look to the book as a whole. Added to this the second strip based around a crazed fisherman, drawn in a more indie style, and an excellent insight into the House of Mystery and House of Secrets, (as a fan, I couldn’t be happier about this) and you feel like you’ve got more than the cover price worth of book in your hands.
My only criticism lies in the extent of the horror on show here. The artwork and characters all fit the idiom perfectly. The uncomfortable feelings garnered from watching Riley entertain us with gore-filled tales as he grins with delight is enough to keep you awake at night. But that’s just it; the actual tales don’t linger in the wormholes of the mind in the way that the plots within House of Mystery or Eerie did. That said, I’d much rather have Diablo House around than another lacklustre zombie romp. Buy it and enjoy the solid art and characters. The plot will creep you out enough to bring you back for more…if you dare.
Skully’s Corner: Why buy this book? Being a bodiless skull, it’s not hard to see why I’m a big fan of horror. The only problem is, I can’t exactly experience a tingling spine! And in a way that’s the thing about Diablo House – it’s creepy, it’s weird, it’s got some certified horrific art…but it doesn’t quite get my metaphorical spine tingling. Definitely worth a read though.
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Review written by Arun Sharma.
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