"Casefile: Arkham – Her Blood Runs Cold" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by 01 Publishing
Written by Josh Finney
Illustrated by Patrick McEvoy
2017, 143 Pages
Hank Flynn has seen horrors of war as a soldier and horrors unimaginable as a detective. His latest case falls squarely in the latter category. When an old friend shows up with a gun aimed at his heart, Flynn is forced to take the man's life, unknowingly pulling him into a spiral of Lovecraftian monsters, cults, and pure insanity within the cursed city of Arkham, Massachusetts.
If you haven't figured it out already, Casefile: Arkham is a beautiful mash-up of horror and hardboiled noir. Flynn is akin to the leads in classic private eye movies. He certainly looks the part too, as he bears a striking resemblance to Robert Mitchum. Flynn never loses his cool and is always in control, even when there's a gun pointed at his head. You'd think with the things he's witnessed that he may be a little frayed around the edges, but he soldiers on, determined to crack the case regardless of the obstacles thrown his way.
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And oh what obstacles there are. Chief among them is the mysterious woman, Asenath, who can stop a man dead in his tracks with a single glare. She's linked to this whole mess, and Flynn aims to find out how she's involved. He just has to resist her charms long enough to do that.
Artist Patrick McEvoy was made to draw a book like Casefile: Arkham. His style perfectly fits the tone, matching the look and feel of classic noir. This means an incredible use of shadow to highlight key images and cleverly hiding others. There are many times that the comic looks like it was ripped right out of a movie from the 1930s.
One real standout in this book is Asenath's eyes. When she puts the whammy on someone, McEvoy showcases her eyes in specific panels, separate from the rest of the images. The borders are more erratic, like the reader is trying not to look at the fierce glare staring back at them. It's a look that conveys so much in such a small space.
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McEvoy handles the traditional artwork well and also excels with the monsters. These are unholy abominations that should not exist in our world. They're made of teeth, fins, and tentacles. If you thought Jaws kept you from going swimming, wait until you see what's included in these pages. You won't even want to take a bath.
Although Casefile: Arkham has an awesome hook and great looking art, I found the mystery a little lacking this time around. Flynn doesn't do all that much detective work in the scheme of things. He mainly bounces from person to person, listening to them rattle off their life story. This makes the book very exposition heavy. Instead of connecting the dots, Flynn kind of floats through the case until the answers are basically handed to him on a silver platter.
Casefile: Arkham is tailor made for fans of noir who want some scares with their pulp. It's easy to fall right into the groove with Hank Flynn, getting wrapped up in this occult mystery. The only downside is that Flynn goes through the story like a main character in a video game, allowing everyone to spout off information at him when all he wants is to get to the boss level.