"The Eighth Seal #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Jeremy Rock
Colored by Michael Spicer
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on February 3rd, 2016
The First Lady might be a little crazy in The Eighth Seal. Amelia Greene has been plagued by horrific visions of late that have become increasingly gruesome as time has gone on. You can imagine her staff's concerns when she's scheduled to appear on live television after fainting spells and a particularly disturbing sleepwalking incident. She's determined to go through with it and holy crap, is it crazy. The 24 hour news cycle tends to dissect every minute detail of various political goings-on, so just think what would happen if the First Lady's terrifying visions of multi-limbed, bug-eyed creatures came into play during a TV interview.
The Eighth Seal plays with some of my favorite types of horror. They're not overt scares or gory scenes for the sake of blood and violence. Instead, it delves into this idea of an unreliable narrator. You can't tell if Amelia is really insane or not. There are some scenes in which you think what's happening is completely real, only to find out it's all occurring in her head.
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These moments of terror arrive suddenly and without warning. When you see one start to emerge, you can't help but stare headlong into the terror. This issue is no different, with the first bout of madness popping up in such an innocent way. Before you know it, you're plunged headfirst into images that will haunt you long after you've finished reading the comic. Seriously, artist Jeremy Rock has outdone himself with these shots. There's one panel that gets me every time I see it. The First Lady is sitting across from the woman interviewing her, when a long, gnarly claw bursts forward from her mouth. Her jaw is torn open to make way for the limb, and she stares forward with eyes filled with fear. I cringe thinking about it right now.
These petrifying images are interspersed with normal, everyday shots of people. They're actually pretty bland, as if the characters were stiffly positioned in each room. This makes the body horror scenes so much scarier as they come completely out of the blue.
We get some background on the relationship between the President and the First Lady with this issue, showcasing memories of how the two met and their early days together. This comes with a tender scene of the President filled with concern as he stands over his wife's bedside. Despite all that he has on his plate being the most powerful man in the world, he's still a husband who cares deeply for his wife. This makes what follows pack such a punch.
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This issue also offers a longer glimpse of the mysterious characters pulling the strings in the background, and what they have to do with Amelia. It all sounds very ominous and things look like they're going to get a lot worse before they get better. If they're capable of spreading this much madness among someone in the White House, imagine what they'd be able to do if they turned their attention to the world.
The Eighth Seal has quickly become one of the scariest comics on the stands today. It is packed with the kind of horror that hits hard, leaving you breathless yet begging for more. There are scenes that land with Lovecraftian levels of madness, but you cannot look away despite how creepy they may be.