"Ness #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written by Chris Welsh
Illustrated by Rob Carey
Colored by Dee Cunniffe
2016, 34 Pages
When I was a kid, there were two photographs that simultaneously terrified me and left me in complete awe. The first was the iconic shot of Bigfoot from the iconic Patterson film. The second was the blurry image of the Loch Ness Monster. The idea that these creatures could be out there in our world, lurking in the woods or just beneath the surface of the water, filled me with excitement, and it still does to this day. Of course, the Internet and satellite photography ruined a bit of that wonder, but a man can dream. This is why I was sold on Ness from the title alone. Fortunately, it's a pretty solid comic.
Ness takes place in, you guessed it, Loch Ness. A group of co-eds come to spread a loved one's ashes in the water and find a mysterious book. The next day, a giant monster made of tentacles and teeth starts to chase them. That makes up the bulk of this issue and it's so awesomely creepy. Artist Rob Carey has created a Lovecraftian horror show that can make your skin crawl just looking at it. It's this writhing mass of coils and terror. Every time you think you've seen the end of it, it turns and reveals even more mouths filled with even more teeth.
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Dee Cunniffe's colors paint a veil of normalcy over the surroundings. It looks like a serene field that would be great for a hike or nature photography. This makes the appearance of the beast all the more frightening. It would be like a great white shark suddenly leaping from one of those motivational posters.
It seems that this is just one creature that was held at bay by a small tribe of protectors, the last of which is brutally murdered in the opening pages. This lends an air of mysticism to Ness, adding so much more to the mythology of a single dinosaur-like beast swimming through the shallow water. If that's the case, what else is out there?
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The main characters are a little light in development at this point, but we're only one issue in. We barely learn their names before they're running for their lives. Normally I hate this kind of thing. It's why Godzilla comics just don't work for me. If it's just monstrous destruction, what's the point? Ness earns the insanity-inducing creature chase by providing a reason for its escape and showing what some of the locals think. Plus, that thing is so friggin' scary that Godzilla would probably run too.
Ness blends a Lovecraft level monster with local Scottish folklore with a hint of the traditional slasher flick. Think of a Friday the 13th movie but replace Jason with a rolling ball of tendrils and teeth. Doesn't that seem a helluva lot scarier?