I had the fortunate opportunity about three months ago to read and review the premiere issue of Deathridge from Funkydoodycool Comics, by Ashley Hewerdine (if you missed it, you can find it here). Hewerdine was subsequently kind enough to invite me to read through ensuing issues; here I’m discussing issues two and three.
Deathridge #1 had our key characters, Boris and Doris, moving into their new house in the apparently suburban idyll of Deathridge. One evening, a visit to the local pub went awry in a rather sinister manner, separating Boris from his Doris and concluding with a fine cliffhanger and with Boris whacked unconscious, in a basement. Much to this reader’s satisfaction, the waggish tone and wit throughout encouraged me to want to come back for more.
Happily, the sprightly pace upon which the first installment concludes is seamlessly continued, with more clean, adeptly designed layouts and crisp, tongue-in-cheek dialogue. Boris wakes from his slumber and he is somewhat worse for wear. Hewerdine illustrates this in a manner that avoids excess lingering or a loss of momentum. One shares in Boris’ worried concern for his wife as he painfully stumbles about this strange building that only an issue ago seemed so innocent. Cue : Agonised screaming. Doris. Screaming.
Boris then encounters a gentleman, Glenn Freeman, who he recognises as one of the townsfolk. Wary at first, they soon team up as they hone in on the sounds of torment from his beloved. This is a dark road that Boris is walking and it brings him to a moment of unbearable horror. It’s conveyed in a manner that certainly packs a punch.
Out of necessity, Freeman drags Boris from the complex. Boris’ suffering throughout is palpable and a credit to the storytelling. It becomes easy to empathise as they desperately seek aid, making a panicked path to yet another twist in the tale and a thirst for that first page of the next chapter.
With the third book, the mystery of Deathridge truly deepens. Suffice it to say that we begin with Boris and his new associate Freeman, back in the clutches of a sinister force and rather amusingly, back in a basment. This time however, they’re truly captive.
In time honoured tradition, their captor is given the opportunity to reveal their motives and to explain some truths that were previously hidden from our hard pressed and much put upon hero. Flashback scenes are delineated smoothly. In fact as the story progresses, the art seems to be executed with increasing confidence and flair. For instance, renderings are essentially delivered in black and white, however within this series there is one excellent exception. It is utterly appropriate and adds an essential sense of tension at just the right moments. Forgive me, greater transparency would only serve to spoil.
It’s undeniably engaging when one realises as one advances that the revelations in the initial pages are simply one layer, behind which lie further questions, wider mysteries and even greater horrors. The disclosures made in this issue serve greatly as a reward for an enquiring mind. Fortuitously, the high level of drama is not compromised and the dynamism within the delivery is maintained.
This series is proving to be making good on the promise suggested in Deathridge #1 and I can tell you that as soon as I complete this, I’ll be jumping right back into the fray with Deathridge #4 and #5.
You can find out more about Deathridge here.
It’s also available now from the following outlets :
Alternate Universe Comics – Chesham
Alternate Universe Comics – Leighton Buzzard
Chaos City Comics – St Albans
Calamity Comics – Harrow
Dead Universe Comics – Aylesbury