"White Devil #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written by Matt Evans and Andrew Helinski
Illustrated by Nate Burns
2012, 25 Pages
Why is it that the darkest evils always seem to develop from small towns? Sure, there can be widespread crime in big cities, but it's those little villages throughout America where darkness can develop...or at least that's what many horror stories have taught me over the years. This is the case with White Devil, a self-published work from writers Matt Evan and Andrew Helinski with art by Nate Burns.
On the surface, everything in this rural town is just as you'd expect. The everyday life of its inhabitants are quite normal with nothing out of the ordinary. There are moments that seem to hint at something more. A knowing glance. A slight hesitation before responding to a basic question. An avoidance of a loved one. It isn't until you dig a little deeper that you see the satanic cult hiding in plain sight, working to bring forth something evil for an unknown purpose.
I dig the premise of White Devil, but the issue ends right when things start to get interesting. There are so many unanswered questions that it's almost frustrating. A lot of time is spent establishing the normalcy of main character, Judy Harper's life before plunging into darkness. It would have been more beneficial to explore the cult a bit more in this limited space.
Nate Burns has some terrific art direction and framing, but his work is hindered by his choice of supplies. It looks like White Devil was drawn with your average blue Bic pen. This is the only color that appears in the book outside of a few drops of blood. I couldn't tell if Burns was trying to shadow panels or make it look like it was raining. It's unfortunate because the character design is great and it's just covered up by these scribbles. There are a number of panels that are supported by outside characters. There's one large circular image that's being held up by two men and later there's one outlined by two demons. It's a nice effect.
It should be noted that the cover for this book is quite awesome. It's all in black and white with some selective use of red on this demon-woman's hand as well as the word "Devil." It's very striking.
The lettering in White Devil also hindered it a bit. The speech bubbles are in straight type which is fine, but the thought boxes from Judy are handwritten and it's often tough to read. I like the style of the handwriting, but it doesn't work well on the page.
White Devil has a good story within it, but it's just struggling to get out from behind the over-shadowed art. This first issue gives us just a taste of this overall arc. Things are just picking up by the time the book wraps up so I hope the creators continue this if for nothing else than to satisfy my curiosity.