"End Times #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Horrorgeddon
Edited by Vin Davis and J.K. Salem
Written by Vin Davis, Tom Goldberg, Jeff Edmond, and Charles Anthony
Illustrated by Vin Davis and Charles Anthony
$5.95, 48 Pages
Comic released on February 20th, 2013
Where would we be without horror anthologies? It's the format that keeps on giving. The horror anthology has a long history with comics, dating back decades to the old Creepy, Eerie, and Tales from the Crypt. Horrogeddon is continuing the tradition with End Times, a new oversized comic featuring a half dozen short stories plus extras. As with those comics of old, this one starts with an introduction by a sinister narrator who warns of the dangers ahead but revels in the torment of others.
End Times sticks to a format that's tried and true. Each tale ends with a twist that often comes without warning but and is always brutal. It also paints the story in an entirely new light that makes going back and re-reading it much more enjoyable. You look at the comic differently knowing how things turn out. These twist endings reminded me a lot of the first volume of Twisted Dark by Neil Gibson, which is certainly not a bad thing.
Writer / artist / editor Vin Davis put a lot of work into End Times. He's responsible for almost all of the artwork in the book, plus most of the plot lines. Davis' pencils are good, but there are often issues with perspective. It's great that he's mixing up the shots to provide a variation in the point of view of the reader, but this results in some awkward poses. For example, in the opening story "I Don't Believe It," a man is yelling and pointing at the viewer, but his arm is bent in a strange and unnatural way. This is a minor quibble, but it can be distracting.
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Davis' characters are all unique. When the panel features a close up of their face, it's a well-detailed shot. He also doesn't adhere to your typical page layout. End Times isn't a series of rectangular panels. Instead, images either float like an amalgamated movie poster or have barriers that fit in with the story. The latter provides a better effect as it gives the book a better flow. The panels in "Radiated Man" are separated by jagged lines, which coincides with the main character's transformation into a hideous creature.
Most anthologies have highs and lows when it comes to quality in the storytelling. End Times has a better average than most as each of the comics has a great finish that hits like a punch to the gut. Some are more effective than others. "Technosapiens" by Davis and Charles Anthony tells the story of a world like the second half of Wall-E, where people lived exclusively in little chairs and computers did everything for them. Then, when things break down, these people lose their minds. The plot makes sense, but it didn't have that oomph that the others did.
If I had to pick a favorite within the collection, I'd go with "Radiated Man", which is also the cover story. Davis gives a plausible explanation for the bath salts zombie scare in Florida in 2012 and takes it a step further by providing more background on the reasoning behind it. This wasn't an isolated incident of some crazy guy. It was organized and made to cover up bigger secrets.
End Times is a fun indie horror anthology comic. The art could use a little more polish, but the story makes up for it with the killer twist endings. For the price of two single issues from either of the Big Two, you get more content in this oversized funny book, so it's worth checking out.
End Times #2 can be purchased through the Horrorgeddon website.