"Croak #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Alterna Comics
Written by Cody Andrew Sousa
Illustrated by Francesco Iaquinta
Colored by Chris O'Halloran
2016, 24 Pages, $2.99
Comic released on August 24th, 2016
I will never understand people's interest in camping. I enjoy the benefits of modern civilization like wifi and Angry Birds. I don't need to go out into the wilderness and become one with nature. Plus, any horror movie will tell you that going into the woods is a bad idea. Croak is another in a long line of horror stories that give you one more reason to avoid roughing it.
The book picks up with Aubrey, Nick, and Tim, three friends who decide to go camping. Aubrey has never been. Nick is really into it. Tim is indifferent. Between the three of them, they manage to hike deep into the woods, get lost, and realize that no one brought the tent. This is just the beginning of their problems. They're not alone in this forest.
|Click images to enlarge|
Writer Cody Andrew Sousa quickly establishes these three main characters. You get a good sense of their personalities and their friendship. They're the kind of group that will rag on each other, but through it all, they're still buds. Right when you're just getting settled in with this trio, the horror comes in.
Croak takes an unexpected turn in the closing pages. It's one that I'm obviously not going to spoil here, but suffice it to say, it's a great hook. It's one that fills you with the good kind of questions, wondering what's going to happen next and how the characters are going to handle this shocking and brutal new development. Then, just as you're about done, there's one final shot that adds even more mystery and terror.
Artist Francesco Iaquinta weaves in the scares subtly at first. He has a way of drawing the trees surrounding Aubrey, Nick, and Tim that makes it look like they're closing in. It creates an almost suffocating quality, like the woods are swallowing up these co-eds. Chris O'Halloran's dark colors with hints of green work hand-in-hand with Iaquinta's artwork to complete that feeling.
|Click images to enlarge|
There's one double-page spread that made my jaw drop. Aubrey is running for her life. Her head is turned slightly back, giving us a glimpse of her face with tears streaming from her eyes. She has an expression of absolute fear that's conveyed without a single word of dialogue. This image speaks volumes.
Croak is further proof that people should avoid the woods. Leave them for bears and other animals. You never know what's going to pop out at you when you venture through the trees. Sure, you may be prepared with a sleeping bag and a first aid kit, but no amount of cotton swabs is going to help you clean up a dead body.