It’s been a while since we last visited the village of Deathridge (previous reviews here, here, and here), but today, instead of moving forward, we’re going to take a look back at the prologue, which creator Ash Hewerdine is offering for free today as part of FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2014.
Issue Zero clocks in at just 8 pages, but it still manages to be full of the same suspense and mystery as Issues 1-5 of the series. It starts with a chase scene in a dark woods are reaches its climax in true Deathridge fashion. However, Hewerdine isn’t finished with us yet, and manages to pull off a couple of nice twists before the final page.
One thing that sets Issue Zero apart from the rest of Deathridge is that it’s the first issue to be published in full colour. Hewerdine has used splashes of red to good effect before, but this is the first time we’re treated to some real colour. Hewerdine’s use of colour matches his artwork in being both simple and effective. His most powerful colour is still red, but he uses a wider pallet that actually makes the few black and white panels more effective. I particularly liked the minimal use of colour in the dark forest, as it enhanced the feeling of facing the unknown, and made me look closely at each shadow upon rereading.
As far as being an introduction to the main series, Issue Zero doesn’t seem to be connected in plot as much as in tone and style. Hewerdine’s drawings make it difficult to tell if the story is even about any of our main characters, but that doesn’t detract from its effectiveness. If nothing else, it helps show new readers exactly what they can expect from Issues 1-5: thrills, suspense, gore, and a whole lot of mystery.
I’ll have to admit that it took me a little while to get into Deathridge originally, finding both the artwork and story of the first issue a bit too minimalistic. New readers may find themselves in a similar frame of mind, and to those I highly recommend the prologue, as it captures a bit more of the horrors that come in the latter issues. Having read through Issue 5, I can assure you that Hewerdine knows what he’s doing, and slow plays at first for a very good reason. I’ve been eagerly awaiting Issue 6 since December, and Issue Zero has, if nothing else, reminded me of all the reasons why I enjoyed the series in the first place.
Deathridge Issue Zero is a fun and thrilling, if short, introduction to the mysterious Hewerdine’s mysterious little village. And for the low, low price of FREE, you really have no excuse for not getting this comic today!
You can get your FREE copy of Deathridge Issue Zero exclusively at Alternate Universe Comics in Chesham and Leighton Buzzard. Hewerdine himself will be at the Chesham shop. As an added bonus, if you buy Issues 1-5, you’ll be eligible for a free mug or mousemat!