"Nightmare World: Volume Three - Demon Days" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Dirk Manning
Illustrated by Anthony Peruzzo, Josh Ross, Austin McKinley, Jason Meek, Stacie Ponder, Grant Perkins, Seth Damoose, Renae De Liz, Len O'Grady, and Jeff Welborn
2010, 128 pages
Graphic Novel released on October 13th, 2011
With half of the stories published, this year sees the release of the third volume of Dirk Manning's Nightmare World from Image Comics. Collecting another thirteen comics, it leaves no doubt that these stand-alone tales are all part of a much larger arc that mixes Cthulu with Revelations.
The stories are presented out of their chronological order, but for the first time (I think) we're given a glimpse into the aftermath of Armageddon. It seems the planet wasn't destroyed and there are still pieces that can be picked up, however the devil isn't down and out. He's still around and bitter at the turn of events.
As with the previous collections, I have a tough time selecting any one that's my favorite. Each eight-page story stands on its own as a decent horror tale. I think No More Tears is just a shade above the rest for me right now. It follows a family that's on the verge of collapse. The parents are in the midst of a huge fight and their son goes to bed after praying that they stop fighting. That's when the end of the world starts and he wakes up to find a demon in his bedroom. The art by Josh Ross is pretty solid, building up slowly to match the plot. There's a great sequence where the boy hides under his bed to get away from the creature that's appeared in his room. We see the demon slowly walking towards the bed from the boy's point of view, its massive clawed feet coming closer with each panel.
There is one comic that I just didn't care for though. Hungry like the Wolf tells the tale of a man living a secret life as a werewolf. He sneaks away from his wife at night to go out scaring people. My dislike of the comic is probably due to the art by Stacie Ponder, which literally consists of nothing but black and white stick figures. Manning tells the story without any dialogue as well. It feels very out of place with the rest of the comics due to its quality and the fact that werewolves don't appear in any of the other Nightmare World comics so far. Out of the 39 comics collected in the three volumes, that's a pretty good track record though.
If the first two volumes of Dirk Manning's Nightmare World gave you a taste of what his epic world-ending story was about, this third volume, Demon Days, ties everything together in a nice little bow...that might have been placed there by Satan. There's much more emphasis on the connection of the dots that have been laid out from the beginning. This volume is easily accessible, even if you haven't read the first two, but fans that have gone through those previous collections will get a much bigger payoff.