"Colder: Toss the Bones #4" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Paul Tobin
Illustrated by Juan Ferreyra
2015, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on December 30th, 2015
Why are all the crazy people crazy? What are they talking about when they're muttering to themselves on the street? Colder: Toss the Bones shows you in gruesome detail, as it takes you to the Hungry World, a place where insanity reigns supreme. Up is down. Left is purple. Nothing makes sense. We've been here before throughout the series and it's never not uncomfortable. This issue is somehow even moreso, as Nimble Jack taunts Declan and Reece, flitting between the Hungry World and our own, essentially playing with his food...and boy, is he hungry.
There is an unmistakable sense of dread that permeates throughout this issue of Colder. Nimble Jack has all the power right now. He flat out shows Declan how ineffective the man's actions have been, trying to heal the insane. All of that madness had to go somewhere. Has Declan really saved these people? There is this incredibly heartbreaking and unsettling scene early on, featuring a little boy that appeared in a previous issue. Declan and Reece find him alone in the Hungry World. The poor kid was there for the sole reason of delivering a message. Once that was complete, he's nothing more than food for the dogs. What follows is a chilling scene as his huge dog (which, may I remind you, has a hand for a body), picks him up by the back of his shirt and carries him off, disappearing into the mist. Declan and Reece are powerless to do anything.
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This is just the beginning. There's so much more. While all this is happening, Nimble Jack is bouncing around spreading mischief. He's a force of chaos that is popping all over the place. You can't fight him like a normal villain. He won't be stopped by punching him in the face. Declan has tried that and more in previous encounters and he just came back again and again. We knew what heinous acts he was capable of, but he almost seems different this time around. It's as if his actions are even more vicious. It's one thing to convince a convict to hang himself. It's quite another to walk into a drug store and pump a seemingly normal woman full of pain killers by literally shoving them down her throat.
Artist Juan Ferreyra continues to deliver nightmare-worthy images throughout Colder. That drug store scene has Nimble Jack prying open the poor woman's mouth, stretching her jaw out to fit even more pills. It's unnatural and just plain creepy. In an earlier scene, he shoves his entire hand into a young woman's mouth, apparently reaching all the way into her brain. Her eyes bulge in terror as a shiver creeps up your spine.
Ferreyra also has some brilliant art direction, featuring shots in unique angles that are unlike anything I've ever seen in comics. There's a great one with the three main characters talking that's shown from beneath them, looking up, as if they were standing on a glass platform. Later on, we get a shot of the pills in the drug store from within the woman's mouth. Ferreyra really knows how to work within the medium and provide some incredible visuals.
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Framing each of these actions are the pigeons that have been a near constant presence in Toss the Bones. They're like the Greek Chorus of the book, following Nimble Jack around and providing weird and mostly nonsensical comments on what's going on. They tend to get mutilated easily. One is run over by a car and another is flatted by a huge boulder. That doesn't stop it from doing its job though. It gets right up again, shambling forward as pieces of it fall off in bloody clumps. I didn't like pigeons before, but now I outright hate them.
As I was nearing the end of the issue, I was really wondering where things were heading. This is the penultimate chapter, not only in this volume, but the Colder trilogy as a whole. How can Declan and Reece possibly stop this being of pure entropy? Then we hit the final page and we're presented with such a crazy notion that I cannot wait to see it play out.
Colder: Toss the Bones is an unsettling, disturbing read, but it's one that you can't help but be pulled into. You'll devour every page and beg for more. It's the kind of horror that stays with you long after you've finished reading it and will have you looking over your shoulder for hours.