"Night Trap #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Lion Forge Comics
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by JB Bastos
2013, 16 Pages, $2.99
As the popularity of digital comics continues to rise, some publishers are finally seeing the opportunity of using the medium to test out certain stories at a lower production cost. Some are embracing it more than others. Lion Forge Comics is one of those publishers and that tradition continues with its first horror title, Night Trap. Written by Cullen Bunn, the comic starts up in the swamps of Louisiana with serial killer James “Jimmy” Auger relaxing with his TV. His plans are cut short by a visit from the FBI which he only narrowly escapes from. A few months later he turns up in Mississippi stalking a group of sexy college co-eds looking to vacation in a cabin in the woods. Stop me if you've heard this one.
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The first issue of Night Trap is all setup for what will come for the rest of the series. Bunn introduces Auger and gives you an idea of what he's capable of. You see right away what kind of person he is and examples of his work. Then he shows you Auger's next set of victims. They're practically served up on a silver platter. Unfortunately, this chapter ends right when it's starting to pick up. All of the players are on the board by the last panel. If this was a movie, it would represent the first 15 minutes. It's all foreplay.
The digital comic is setup as 32 “pages” but it equates to 16 actual pages of content. Each “page” is the size of half of a physical comic page. At $2.99, this is a pretty steep price for the page count. It would be better set at 99¢, which lines up to the price points of titles set up in a similar fashion, such as DC's Batman Beyond or Arrow digital first series. The beauty of this format is that the digital comic can easily be collected as a physical one down the line.
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JB Bastos' artwork is pretty solid. His characters and perspective are all spot on. Where he really excels is when you get a peek at Auger's previous victims. They're all tied to these oil drums in the water around his home. There's this incredibly creepy scene where you get the view of a dozen or so bodies hanging lifeless at the bottom of the swamp. Bastos also manages to jump in tone throughout the comic. You have the unsettling first few pages with Auger, then a frantic action-packed scene with the FBI charging in, followed by the arrival of the co-eds with their entire future ahead of them. Each section has a different feeling to it. It's like watching a horror movie where the score lines up perfectly.
Night Trap is off to a good start but that's all this first issue is so far. It's a great setup for a horror movie but it ends right when things are starting to get interesting. Given the price point, I was hoping for a bit more from the book or at least a heftier page count.