"Exorsisters #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Ian Boothby
Illustrated by Gisele Lagace
Colored by Pete Pantazis
Lettered by Taylor Esposito
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on October 17th, 2018
If you're dealing with something that goes bump in the night, you need Kate and Cate Harrow. This identical twin team of paranormal investigators will solve your case for a price. Their latest assignment involves a man being carted off to Hell on his wedding day. The catch is that his fiancée is the only one that saw this happen, even though it went down at the altar. Everyone else thinks he just left.
What you'll quickly understand about Exorsisters is that it's a fun book. Its tongue is firmly planted in its cheek, so while it deals with concepts like demons and other supernatural creatures, it does so in a playful nature. Much of this is due to Gisele Lagace's artwork, which perfectly captures the balance between horror and comedy.
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For example, the Harrows head down to Hell to look for the missing groom and along the way they find some unusual demons. My favorite is Azphedel, a demon lord that tried to possess a little girl but messed up, causing the spell to reverse. Now this girl is in this monster's body, but trying to make the best of it by having tea parties and wearing dresses. There are little bows in her horns, making them look like pigtails.
Completing the picture of Azphedel is her speech. Letterer Taylor Esposito uses the same rough font that's used for all the demons in Exorsisters, but Azphedel's word balloons are framed in pink. This is such a great touch that underlines the nature of the character.
Colorist Pete Pantazis brings Hell alive with fire and brimstone. It's a dreary place made of dark caverns. Flames surround the area, limiting the path the Harrows can take. Despite the underworld setting, it's well lit. There's nothing lurking in the shadows reading to jump out at the women because there aren't many shadows at all. It's an alternate take on what we've come to expect from Hell and it complements the overall feel of the comic.
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Lagace also sets the personalities of Cate and Kate based off of their facial expressions and demeanor. Kate is a little more punk rock than her sister, who is more buttoned up. They both care about their jobs and the cases they take on, however they approach them in different ways.
The dialogue matches up to the tone set by Lagace's artwork. Writer Ian Boothby packs Exorsisters with some great gags and laugh-out-loud humor. The Harrows are put into these insane situations and you can't help but crack a smile at the sheer madness of it all. Their reactions to it make everything worthwhile, as you can tell they've been through this kind of stuff before, so they're used to dealing with creatures that have a giant eyeball for a head.
Exorsisters puts a new spin on the supernatural detective trope. Sure we've had John Constantine and Cal McDonald, but we needed a fun female perspective and the Harrow sisters definitely deliver that. The twist at the end of this first issue reframes the story and opens the door to a slew of possibilities that I can't wait to see explored.