Horror Double Feature…Third Times A Charm

Review by Shaun Daniels and Edited by Sharon Wong

Horror Double Feature issue 3

Rose’s Heart
Written & Drawn by Colleen Coover

The Deal Breakers
Written by Brendan Hay and Art by Nate Watson

Published by Double Feature/Four Star Studios

Double Feature returns with Horror Double Feature, the cubed issue of the horror genre.  With Sunday being the virtual ship date, this book will scratch The Walking Dead itch most comic fans are left with now that the second season of the TV show is over.  This issue has both double vision of demons and prices of human souls so sit back, and for god’s sake, if you sell your soul to the devil, at least think big, really big.

Hitting lead off in this Double Feature issue is Rose’s Heart by the very talented Colleen Coover.  Rose’s Heart reads like a classic Irish tale, blending horror and modern sensibility.  Let’s set ye olde tale; Rose, a beautiful, young maiden of a small Irish village finds herself at the end of a night of libations and song.  She makes her way home but not before a gentleman caller asks to escort her to her cottage.  Rose replies that the man has a good soul and that she has no use for a man like that.  One might take that as a slight but in this case,  it has a double meaning.  Fearing a stranger is following her, Rose makes haste and runs into the local lord.  Unfortunately for Rose, the lord is not what he appears to be and in any good horror story, there is one more twist for her.

Coover weaves a fundamentally sound tale that blends elements from Irish folklore and classic comic book horror.  The classic horror comes in the form of the twist, which if explained would spoil the story, but think ’70s horror and female leads.  A standout in the story involves the use of song and a break in the dialogue; when Rose is supposedly being followed, she sings a song, and the lyrics are broken up by the action and then a pause in singing.  The scene works well by adding more tension to the story, filling the air with dread.  Coover’s art adds to the story’s atmosphere with its use of two colors, blue and yellow.

Second in the line up is The Deal Breakers by Hay and Watson, which is our favorite of the two yet it is not without a couple of weak spots.  The story follows a duo that specializes in breaking deals for people who sold their souls to a demon.  In the world of the Deal Breakers, soul brokering is a booming business where one sells his or hers soul in exchange for goods, services and the usual sinful trappings.  The team consists of the sharp-dressed, guitar playing RJ Hill and the moody but tough as nails Dani Webster (think real hard, and pay attention to the little details and their names in context to the story).  The soul in question sold his soul in exchange for a hot date to the prom that deal is sealed with a kiss for a young boy.  In our opinion, the kid should have held out for at least a quick feel.  Of course, there is a loophole and the duo exploit it, saving the day and a soul.  RJ uses the power of his magic guitar while Dani uses the power of rolled up contracts that act as magical ass-kicking sticks.

The story gets high marks for the fun and refreshing take on an age old trope of selling one’s soul to the devil.  The unconventional magical weapons are a quirky break from swords and the witty banter adds to the book’s overall quirkiness.  The art presentation has a two-fold visual attack on the reader; first, Watson has a classic approach to line work that comes right out of the bronze age of comics.  This is enhanced again by the dot color pattern and the faux-weathered, worn look of the (digital) paper that makes up the space between the panels.  The two rough spots of the book derive from just the cover which as a whole is fantastic and done in a bronze age style.  However, the demon on the cover looks rushed, loose and sketchy.  Also, there are three main characters on the cover but only two in the story.  After reading the commentary, we know the third, who is a bit complicated in nature, will appear in future volumes of the story.  As indicated by the creative team, it’s difficult to introduce more than a few characters in eight pages, which is true.  Here is the problem: If the book goes to series, and should go, the characters will have to be re-introduced in that story.  Why not introduce the third character and hint at what makes him unique, or just put it out there for the readers to go, “Hmmm.”

Another solid book from Double Feature so be sure to download the app for your iPad or go to the DF website to download your copy for a bargain at $.99.

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