"Colder: The Bad Seed #4" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Paul Tobin
Illustrated by Juan Ferreyra
2014, 24 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 30th, 2015
There are many go-to tactics that can provide scares in horror movies that just aren't available in comics. You can't build up tension with a soundtrack or have someone jump out at the reader (unless it's a pop up or 3D book...note to self: Look into pop-up comics or 3D books). One of the core tools available to the horror comic writer is the page turn. The reader doesn't know what lies in wait for them as they flip the page. This issue of Colder: The Bad Seed has one of the best uses of the page turn I've ever seen. I let out an audible gasp when I turned the page, and was genuinely scared by what I saw.
Swivel, the deformed creature from the Hungry World with an obsession for fingers, has been terrorizing the lives of Reece and Declan. He's separated the two in the land of insanity and now Reece is searching for her boyfriend, but she's not used to this world and its many eccentricities. It starts out simple, as she notices she suddenly has an extra finger on her right hand as she reaches to open the door, and then it quickly escalates as she goes down the rabbit hole of madness. This includes but is not limited to a giant eight-armed, eight-breasted farmer, talking rats, and a rainfall made up of fingers.
By this point in the series, you would think that cops would be on the lookout for a crazy guy that's been hacking people's fingers off. Every issue so far has had Swivel harvesting more digits in vicious and brutal ways. He has no regard for the people and slices them without a second thought.
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Artist Juan Ferreyra draws his ass off with this issue. Every page just gets better and better. In one impressive segment, Reece finds herself transported to the past and Ferreyra legitimately made the book look like an old school comic. The colors are faded. There's a darker tint to the gutters, making it appear old. It really solidifies that this is a completely different part of the Hungry World that Reece has stumbled onto.
Ferreyra also plays with the borders between the panels. None of them are even when in this world of madness. They're sloppy and often come in at strange angles, like they've been deformed by the insanity within this land. There's a really great sequence towards the end of the issue where Reece literally falls from one panel to another, breaking through the barrier.
It's really tough for me to decide on what creeped me out the most in this issue. Was it the pigeons that turned into creatures made entirely of fingers? That will certainly haunt my nightmares for weeks to come. Was it the sliver of sinew left on a wall after someone's head violently connected with it? Or was it the fingers sprouting from a man's ears, nostrils, and mouth? It's hard to say, but all are terrifying and expertly drawn by Ferreyra.
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I know I've said a lot about the artwork in Colder: The Bad Seed, but I've got one more point to make. Did you see that cover? That is a gorgeous image. It seamlessly melds the three main characters in one frame-worthy shot.
Colder: The Bad Seed is easily the scariest comic on the stands right now. This is terror that will creep up your spine and make you cringe. You'll want to look away but you can't. Once it wraps its long, claw-like fingers around you, you're trapped. It excels at visually exploring insanity as one woman fights her way through all manner of crazy to get to the love of her life, but she might not be happy with what lurks in Declan's deep, dark past.