"InferNoct #4" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Scout Comics
Written by Mina Elwell
Illustrated by Eli Powell
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 31st, 2018
Sam's trippy initial journey as a monster hunter continues. She makes her way to an abandoned building covered in graffiti and filled with dread as she searches for the creature that her mentor was hunting. The trail takes her out to the forest, where she finds an unimaginable monster made of teeth, tentacles, and pure insanity. But is all this real? Is Sam fighting an existential threat to humanity? Or is she just crazy?
That uncertainty is what has made InferNoct such a tense read. As this is the final issue, I was hoping for a bit of an answer, one way or another. Things are left rather vague and open-ended, allowing you to draw your own conclusions. This is a good thing and a bad thing. We don't really know what happened overall.
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One thing that could have aided this is a bit more dialogue. I'm all for textless pages that allow the artwork to stand on its own to tell the story. InferNoct #4 overuses this to the point where I feel like there are more pages without words than with them. That can work in some cases, but as this is supposed to wrap up the series, some additional clarification would be helpful in tying up a number of loose ends.
Fortunately, Eli Powell's artwork is pretty incredible, especially in these final scenes with the monster battle. There are some great iconic shots as Sam descends into the abyss to confront this beast. It seems impossible for this young girl to do anything to harm this creature. She does have a few tricks up her sleeve, although they can be a little gross. There's a tinge of body horror in these moments.
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Powell maintains that signature uneasy feeling for InferNoct up until this point too. The scenes where Sam is walking through the abandoned building are very ominous. It drives home the idea that she's all alone in this war and she's barely a rookie.
There's a deux ex machina woman that shows up to help Sam get to this building to investigate further. Her connection to the monsters is interesting, although I think it would have been more helpful if she were introduced earlier. As it stands, she shows up to drive Sam around for a little while, tangentially involved in the monster war. It would be like Buffy's mom driving her to the cemetery to kill vampires. Don't forget to wear a coat, dear!
InferNoct has an unforgettable dreadful mood. It strikes the perfect tone for an atmospheric horror story. It just didn't come together by the end, so I'm left with more questions and a large amount of confusion. It's a little frustrating as writer Mina Elwell has pulled me into this story with such an interesting concept and a compelling main character and I'm not sure where things go. Don't get me wrong. Questions and open-ended stories can work well, but there's just too much left unanswered here.