Review: Pumpkinhead #2
Written by: Cullen Bunn
Art: Blacky Shepherd
Colours: Thiago Ribeiro
Letters: Troy Peteri
Publisher: Dynamite Comics
When Dynamite roll out new titles like Pumpkinhead, fans of all things horror, as well as those with a taste for the nostalgic, sit up and took notice. Issue #1 set the scene for a swampy, steam-soaked, old-fashioned fright-fest, and climaxed with a teasing smattering of the slash frenzy which this series is still promising to be. Rather than veer down the much trodden path of so-called psychological horrors that we’ve seen a multitude of recently, Bunn and co. have gone old-school and delivered a tale that’s at once as old as the hills, but at the same time fresh and dynamic. A heady mix of modern twists and classic tropes had left a series that’s memorable and one with a delicious range of possibilities for future runs and spin-offs. So, let’s have a closer look at how issue #2 has fared after the maxi-splash effort that was issue #1.
Once again, story-weaving is ‘queen’ here with a tale that’s horrific in its depiction of real-time blood-letting but also laced with the almost whimsical history of a family steeped in folklore and spirits. The beauty of the writing is that it is at heart an old-school monster story yet the approach is chilling in its probability and range. The characters are recognisable, even if a little cliched, but it’s this very cliche that melds itself to the creature hunting them, and the harrowing situation they find themselves in. Chase stories often over-rely on the pace to keep the fear afloat. In this case, Bunn plays with the pace to keep us second-guessing the direction of the plot. In one sequence we might be witnessing more of the graphic violence we witnessed at the end of the last book, whilst the next, we’re visiting an ancient relative up in the hills to broker some respite from the onslaught. Add to this a keen and quicker-than-the-locals sheriff, and we’ve got a suitably layered tale that doesn’t take a breath.
Art-wise, the realistic style very much suits the content. A more cartoony style would have left the book looking more Scooby-Doo, but Shepherd instead creates a haze-soaked world in the hills that we can easily recognise as back-water America. The creature itself is horrific and detailed, as are the characters’ facial expressions throughout. This comes into play even more so when we meet the family who summoned the beast itself. A sullen look to each member only adds a further sinister angle and doesn’t go unnoticed by the reader. There is plenty to notice here and the background detail overall is excellent. Ribeiro’s colouring adds a depth of hot, hot heat to the proceedings and the orange motif is dotted throughout. The use of a duller, almost white-washed, palate for the sullen family member mentioned earlier works fantastically as it underlines their place in the mythology, as well as colour coding the mood within their walls. This is clever stuff!
Overall, as you’ve guessed, I’m a fan. It’s a got blood, gore, violence as well as a deeper psychologically harrowing layer of sweat when depicting the almost secret society that comprises this hill community. If you haven’t already picked up issue #1 , find it, along with this issue, and jump on board.
Skully’s Corner: Why buy this book? Oh, how I love monsters and ghoulies. You could say, they make me feel at home…well, these hillbillies make me glad I don’t live in a shack in the hills because coming face-to-face with Pumpkinhead would be too much even for an old bonehead like me. 8.5/10
Thank you for reading our review of Pumpkinhead #2. We here at the Chico Comics Page appreciate your viewership. We invite you to check back with us soon as we post often. Or, you can follow us on Facebook (The Chico Comics Page), Google+ (The Chico Comics Page) and Twitter (@ChicoComicsPage) for regular updates on all of our posts.
Review written by Arun Sharma.
WHAT IS THE HERO INITIATIVE?
The Hero Initiative creates a financial safety net for comic creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. Since inception, the Hero Initiative has been fortunate enough to benefit more than 50 creators and their families with over $950,000 worth of much-needed aid, fueled by your contributions! It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.