"Cold Spots #2" Comic Review
Written by Angry Scholar
Published by Image Comics
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrations by Mark Torres
Letters by Simon Bowland
2018, 32 pages
Comc released on September 26th, 2018
Cold Spots #2 opens with the cops investigating the icy death of the shopkeeper from issue #1. They’ve got questions for Dan, the last person who spoke to the poor fool, but he has questions for them, too, mostly centering on WTF guys and also srsly WTF. They let him off, though, and the sheriff even introduces him to Zeb, who charters boats “from time to time.” Zeb takes Dan to Quarrels Island, where things continue their steady march into weird.
|Click images to enlarge|
On the island, Dan encounters a shrine of sorts in the woods, where people have tied various offerings—dolls, photographs, letters—to the trees. The place is also full of dead animals, an ominous sign if ever there was one. Here he encounters the Quarrels’ groundskeeper, Leland. After the requisite posturing and cryptic mutterings, Leland takes Dan to meet the owners of the island. It turns out Alyssa and her daughter Grace, the missing persons Dan was sent to find, are “guests” of the Quarrels. This being horror, things are clearly not what they appear.
The second issue continues in the first’s noir-ish, gritty vein. Mark Torres’ art is all contrasts, often with huge patches of darkness surrounding bright watercolors. It’s very effective for a horror story, and his ghost designs—semi-transparent, shambling wraiths with awful glowing eyes—are excellent, somewhere between the monotone see-through ghosts of the Fatal Frame games and the phantom pirates from Carpenter’s The Fog. Torres actually says in a response to reader mail that the series is his “love letter” to ‘70s and ‘80s horror, and that aesthetic comes through loud and clear in both the art and in Cullen Bunn’s writing. Bunn is a master of genre, and it seems he’s gone hardboiled for Cold Spots, which makes a certain amount of sense with a private-eye protagonist.
|Click image to enlarge|
If I have a minor complaint, it’s that the chosen aesthetic—that gritty, dark, mysterious feel familiar from lots of contemporary and classic horror—leaves out too much for too long. Some of the images, for example, are drawn in a way that requires a lot of looking to figure out what they are. In one panel I thought Dan was holding something in his mouth, or maybe having a gun shoved in his face; eventually I realized what I was seeing was the collar of his leather jacket obscuring his lower jaw. This being horror, there’s also a lot of riddling, cryptic dialogue, and while it’s part of the fun, it can also be frustrating when we can see so clearly what’s coming but are forced to wait for it.
But that all is very minor. Cold Spots is an interesting story so far, with great, creepy art, and I’m looking forward to the next issue.