"Hoax Hunters #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Heavy Metal
Written by Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley
Illustrated by Christian Dibari
2015, 32 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on March 25th, 2015
At long last, Hoax Hunters has returned. Regan, Ken Cadaver, Donovan, Lauren, and Murder are back for more episodes of their mysterious TV show where they debunk supernatural stories...or rather cover them up. Things have changed (and not just the publisher of the comic going from Image to Heavy Metal). Their once fearless leader, Jack, is gone, having disappeared while searching for his lost father, Alan. The group is clearly broken, and is trying to go on without him while also searching for Borges, a man who may know Jack's whereabouts. That's all easier said than done.
While each of the team members serves a purpose, they seem a little lost without Jack. Donovan is trying to fill in as best he can, but no one really likes him and he's kind of an asshole. Plus, some of his dialogue is pretty groan worthy. I wouldn't want to be his friend either. Jack held the team together and that's no more apparent than when he vanished. Of course, we know that he's not really missing. He's just in another dimension. The Hoax Hunters don't know that though.
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In an effort to right this ship, Donovan gets them a gig in Paris that seems pretty easy. People are allegedly being grabbed by skeletons and dragged into the sewers. You know, typical French behavior. The team heads down into the catacombs to check it out, and encounter so many skeletons. Artist Christian Dibari brings in a real creepy flair with these scenes. Since these panels are lit by torchlight, you'll often see skulls looming in the shadows behind the characters. It gives the impression that the crew is being watched or that something is about to attack them.
I'm glad that Lauren and her buddy the Jersey Devil are getting more time to shine in this issue. Their story in the first volume was touching and really made Hoax Hunters something special. They're trying to track down Borges while the rest of the team is on assignment. Lauren hasn't traditionally been out in the field, but everyone's been pulled into the fold lately.
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Dibari's pencils are loose, making the characters look almost sketch-like, as if they need one more pass to firm them up. Some pages are better than others. Close up panels tend to have a great amount of detail, but shots of busts or full bodies tend to lose that a great deal. Dibari has a nice shadow effect on close shots of faces that can help provide an emotional level to a scene.
While the name and the team are back, Hoax Hunters hasn't quite recaptured the magic that it displayed in its Image Comics days. It's still very early and writers Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley had taken a hiatus from the comic to write other projects, so maybe they just have to find their groove with these characters again, much like the characters themselves. It's clear that Heavy Metal is backing them 100%, as Hoax Hunters is the premiere title in its new line of books. Hopefully things will tighten up a bit as we get some more answers to the mysteries surrounding the characters and what's going on with Jack.