"Croak #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Alterna Comics
Written by Cody Andrew Sousa
Illustrated by Francesco Iaquinta
Colored by Chris O'Halloran
2016, 24 Pages, $2.99
Comic released on December 8th, 2016
Aubrey is running for life through the woods with monsters hot on her trail. She's seen her friends die or get carried away by these creatures already. Now she's lost and hope is dwindling away. Tears stream down her face as her feet carry her onwards. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Stay the F out of the woods, people! You don't run into crap like this in the safety of your own home.
Croak delivers a lot of tension at such a fast pace. The bulk of this issue is presented without any dialogue. It's just Aubrey and the monsters running through the woods and it's quite effective. The art has so much room to breathe. There are a handful of jaw-dropping double-page spreads that show just how alone they are in the wilderness. There is nothing but trees and darkness all around. The few times that narration pops up, it's light and only serves to increase the suspense as Aubrey pushes herself to run as fast as she can.
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There's one moment where it looks like she's in the clear. She gets a second to catch her breath and regroup. This is short-lived and artist Francesco Iaquinta delivers my favorite panel of the book with an effect I absolutely love, although I don't see it too often. There's this one-shot of absolute terror and it's shown in the word “CROAK” instead of a standard panel. It works well and really showcases the horror of this book.
We get our best view of the monsters in this issue. They're like hulking birds with teeth and claws, sort of like mutant eagles. This is an awesome design for a creature.
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Croak ends abruptly without a full explanation as to what the monsters are or where they come from. This is fine with how the story flows, however the continuity nerd in me wants to know their origin. As it stands, we get a climax that happens so quickly that you almost miss it. You can draw your own conclusions as to what's really going on.
Croak was originally meant to be a short film from writer Cody Andrew Sousa. You can see how this could easily translate to the screen. This is a stellar adaptation to the comic medium that keeps the same breakneck pace and tense action you'd expect from a movie, yet it's all on the page. The monsters are terrifying and rival those found in modern cinema. Although this is the end, I'd be curious to learn more about these creatures and what other terror they cause for those foolish enough to venture into these woods.