Comics Features Reviews

“Exe” Plays With Horror


Exe, written by Geohn Blackheart and drawn by Jaspix, follows the mysterious hitman Exe: also known as Zareth Millstone. There’s also Doe; a woman with no memories of her past. Exe is contracted to deal with the people behind the murder of his client’s daughter. Together with Doe, he infiltrates a house of technological horrors in order to take down the masterminds. This reveals a gruesome and sick entertainment business – the contents of which are frankly too disgusting to print. Exe in general has a chilling premise that is certainly not for the faint of heart.

The color scheme is mostly black and white. But it does use splashes of vibrance as accents to highlight features and objects. This makes the art style pop in a way that not every graphic novel does. The figures are also very interesting. They’re drawn in a distinctive style that pays special attention to facial features and structure. Jaspix creates very expressive eyes, which helps reflect deeper into the characters and their stories.

Exe suffers some practical problems. Narration follows the action, spelling out what happens as a book of text does. At times, the storytelling can get too repetitive and stale. It also delves deeply into the technological aspect of Exe’s world – spelling out every detail of the weapons and resources the characters use. While I understand that as an author, there’s an instinct to underline a sci-fi story’s futuristic aspects. This method however, detracts somewhat from the immersion. The reader has to spend a significant portion of time trying to understand all the different descriptions while following the story between the characters. Footnotes or an index art page with all the explanation might be more effective here.

Despite all that, Exe manages to tell its story in a way that makes sense for it. This comic is truly the stuff of nightmares; delving into an aspect of the world that most people would rather pretend does not exist. The darkness inside of someone’s heart is not clearly visible from the surface. Because of this, trying to understand the depths of cruelty that a person is capable of becomes very difficult indeed. Exe understands that at the end of the day, some people in this world are irredeemable monsters. It plays into the sick, twisted natures that tragically are all too common.

At its heart, Exe acts as a revenge narrative. Both Zareth and Doe are more involved in the horrors they aim to stop than meets the eye. The two of them and their relationship provides a refreshing break from the atrocities surrounding the story. They choose to fight together against the most horrific side of the world. Amazingly, they manage to do so without losing too much of themselves in the process. A scene near the end is so incredibly raw, showing the levels some people will sink to in order to affirm their control.

Ultimately, this comic is about getting back at the monsters that drown others in their own misery. But it’s also about reaching out and having someone reach back. Two people coming to understand each other is a beautiful thing, even against a backdrop of violence.

What futuristic technology would you expect? Are you ready to tackle the darker side of human nature? Exe is available for purchase at Drivethru Comics. Hit us up on Facebook or Twitter and let us know your thoughts on Exe and all other comics we’ve reviewed so far!

About the author

Layna Putterman