"Croak #2" 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, 26 Pages
Comic released on October 5th, 2016
Aubrey, Nick, and Tom are cutting their camping trip short after Aubrey brutally beat a man nearly to death with a rock. Bloodshed tends to put a damper on the fun...unless that's what you're into. Anyway, the three don't have much time to grieve, as the body is snatched away and they're chased by a horde of strange creatures. Seriously guys, stay out of the woods. You're not going to run into these monsters in the comfort of your own home.
The creatures are the real stars of this issue of Croak. The way that they're introduced is great. Remember the first Saw movie, where the photographer was using the flash on his digital camera to find his way around his pitch black apartment? Each flash of the camera showed a new image until you finally saw the weird puppet and had to change your pants? That's the effect in Croak. As they're running, one of the characters is lighting the way with his camera and manages to snap a picture of one of the monsters. It's something that works surprisingly well in the printed form.
|Click images to enlarge|
This first glimpse is small and does not do the beings justice. They look almost comical, like a bird with teeth looking awkwardly at the camera, as if it doesn't know what this strange technology is. That humor goes away when they make their second appearance and it only gets scarier from there. The splash page is gorgeous and horrifying. Artist Francesco Iaquinta delivers so much terror in a single image. It's a shot you'll want to spend some time on – or not because it's pretty creepy – analyzing every minute detail. You see them in all their glory with beaks full of teeth, bright bulging red eyes, and hulking arms ending in razor sharp claws.
The monsters make a “CROAK” sound when they're nearby. This starts out small and then grows to the point where the page is nearly filled with the word, cascading over and over upon itself. The only downside to this is that each one is identical, so they were probably copied and pasted repeatedly instead of customized per page. It would have been an interesting effect to have it wrapped around the characters.
|Click images to enlarge|
Events escalate so quickly in Croak. What started as a simple, innocent camping trip has gotten to the point where no one may make it out alive. Although so much happens in this issue, it doesn't feel rushed or crowded. Writer Cody Andrew Sousa manages the pacing well. The issue starts out heated as the trio argue over what just happened, but at a normal human level, then it gets ratcheted up to eleven when the monsters come in and does not let up even when you get to the last page.
Croak is a terror-filled tale of monsters lurking behind every tree trunk. We don't need to have much information or development of the main characters. What we need to understand is their fear of what they're going through and that comes across in spades. It's easy to identify with someone that is literally running for the life with a creepy bird / lizard creature right on their heels. I dare you to read this before a camping trip and tell me it doesn't give you second thoughts.