"Grindhouse: Drive In, Bleed Out #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Alex de Campi
Illustrated by R.M. Guéra
2014, 26 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on November 12th, 2014
Oh, it has been too long, Grindhouse. The comic book industry has been way too clean. We needed a return to filth, and Alex de Campi has delivered with the next installment of Grindhouse, dubbed Drive In, Bleed Out. The first story, Slay Ride, is a heartwarming, family-friendly romp about Santa's sleigh and...oh, I'm just messing with you. It's a dark supernatural horror comic filled with downright disturbing images, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Slay Ride starts out fast and brutal. It's Christmas Eve in a rural area of Canada when a man returns home from the army to find his father lying dead on the floor, covered in blood. Before he can react, his face is blown off by a shotgun held by a mysterious man in a top hat. His mother watches from the car, powerless and dying of cancer, but the beings responsible for this carnage pass her by, disappearing into the wind. She may be on death's door, but that's not going to stop her from getting some good old fashioned revenge.
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At first I thought that these frightening murderers were just weirdos. They're called the Clown, the Overseer, and the Man Who Walks. The first two look like demented versions of Ronald McDonald and Colonel Sanders, respectively. This could have been a straightforward serial killer story. Writer Alex de Campi adds a supernatural element to them that is not yet explained, but definitely increases the scare factor by about a million. It's one thing if they were just crazy people with guns. Now they're crazy people with guns that can disappear into thin air.
What is apparent very quickly is that although these killers may be out of sight, they are not far from the action. They are always watching. This is shown in very subtle ways and artist R.M. Guéra does a fantastic job with it. There are panels where a face can be seen in the snow falling through the air or how the branches of a tree cross. It's something you may not notice at first, but when you look a little closer at some of these panels, it comes together far clearer than any of those old Magic Eye pictures.
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The artwork in Slay Ride is absolutely gorgeous. You are not going to read a better looking comic that will scare you as much as this one does. He somehow manages to bring the sleaze while crafting truly beautiful images. There are panels toward the end of the book that weave into one another, where the shock of white in a character's hair becomes the background in the next shot. This all leads up to what is easily the scariest monster I'll see all month. It appears at the end of the comic, so I'm not spoiling it, but goddamn is it creepy.
Grindhouse is returning with a bang. Slay Ride is terrifying, sexy, and fueled by vengeance. It's everything I'd want from the genre and more.
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