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SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN #10 – Review
Have you ever wanted to see a small child getting graphically ripped in half on the very center of a comic book page? Boy, do I have the comic book for you!
I am being constantly surprised by the trove of amazing comic books that keep coming out this year. It’s like every time I blink there’s a new series or graphic novel that apparates out of thin air and casually decides to become a god-tier product among god-tier products. We are facing a veritable apocalypse and, somehow, the fact that the entire population has been enclosed into their own anxiety-ridden houses, has had the side effect of boosting the creative prowess of people around the world.
In the least likely way possible we, as a species, may have already proven the cliché saying that poses all great art comes from pain.
And 2020 has been delivering tremendously on both fronts – which is also a perfect analogy for humankind’s existence as a whole, to be honest. Humanity’s number are – unfortunately – dwindling and, despite that, what seems to blossom the most is the entertainment aiding us in escaping this particular reality. This would be a poetic statement if it weren’t so darn gloomy.
Paralleling our own world, people are also dying in the universe of Something Is Killing The Children. Specifically, the titular “children”. That was true in issue one, where we had to face the reality of a graphic massacre wherein five kids were maimed and devoured on panel by a shadow monster. That is also true in this issue where, above anything else, Archer’s Peak residents are mired down in the aftermath of so many lives lost while being completely oblivious to the continued killing of their underage population.
In contrast with the real world, the best thing of this particular ordeal is its fictionality, the notion that, although constructed in a very believable way, the situations are fantastically enough to take us away from the disaster of our era instead of reminding it. Darkness doesn’t always beget darkness.
So, where we at? The school gym is full of bodies so dismembered they function as puzzles every parent needs to put together in order to confirm or deny their blood relation to the corpse. The “too young for this shit” school principal has finally lost the last remnant of humanity he so desperately was hanging to. A rather slow-witted young man that preaches he can see monsters to the public is now taking the fall for the murdering of three siblings he actually tried to save.
James… is here because he’s sort of the main character despite doing absolutely squat in this issue. There’s an ambience of darkness, despair; the impossibility of returning to a happy life has dawned on everyone by this point.
Issue ten is a slow burn. It’s the bit of calm between horrific events, the breather among red ink blotches. As such, this could’ve easily become “the boring issue”, “the one where nothing happens”, but the way the reactions of everyone in Archer’s Peak are constructed and presented to us makes it an action-filled segment of the story – even if the action is happening inside people’s souls and we get but a glimpse into it.
One of the key factors why the whole saga of Something Is Killing The Children works so well even almost a year in is, definitely, its pacing. On the whole, the series is a horror movie, one of those that still remembers characters are supposed to be human beings first and foremost. You could argue – and I have – about how horror films can benefit from featuring over the top characters, what with the benefit of fourth-wall breaking and trope deconstruction to add to the experience of watching B-movie fodder.
But the stories that actually chill us to the bone, that ones that make us look behind our backs while trekking through a dimly lit forest, are the ones that are closer to home. It’s when we see people we could actually find on our day to day basis that we start wondering “what if this happened to me?”
The way this comic book does this is by taking its time to both showcase the excruciating tribulations the victims have to go through as well as a detailed reminder of how something like this could affect an entire community. No heartbreak is too small to not create a ripple in this universe, no death to grand to brush off as simple decoration.
The series’ entire visual aesthetic shines through in that regard. It’s all rendered in a rough visual style, almost like the story is such a heavy burden on its artists that they can only muster the strength to sketch every panel and move on. Who could blame them when illustrating children with their intestines hanging out of their body is their day job?
Top notch effort as well in the lettering department. The studio hired to do it knows what they’re doing and what’s at stake. They play around with forms, sizes, boldness, and opacity to convey exactly the mood, volume and between-the-lines-ness of every speech balloon on the page, getting better at their game with every issue, adding life to the 2D images before us.e
This issue, the tenth one, was my entry point in the series. Prior to it arriving digitally on my smartphone not only had I never heard of it, I was also oblivious to the people behind it. With this being the tenth chapter in a long-running series, I feared I’d get lost in the plot, feel nothing but confusion and keep asking asinine questions that would’ve surely been answered months ago.
But it wasn’t the case. Instead of feeling muddled, each page did nothing but pique my interest on the universe at hand. It challenged me to use my brain and connect the dots, then go out and find the answers I was searching for in order to comprehend everything. The whole issue was so clear in its storytelling, so masterfully done, that I ended up reading issues one through nine that very same day, loving every minute of the experience. That’s how strong this comic book is. That’s how good Something Is Killing The Children #10 is.