Right around the time Wes Craven sadly passed away last year, the comic Coming of Rage #1 appeared bearing his name, and that of Steve Niles. Whilst the timing may have led to thoughts of a cash-in, obviously work on the comic had begun far before his death. Keen to immerse myself in as much Craven as possible, I grabbed a copy of the first issue to see what it was like. Here are some quick thoughts:
Things I liked:
- It’s a Wes Craven comic. You can definitely feel Craven’s influence here. At times you can see the spirit of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), though to be frank, it is more often the spirit of lesser Craven, particularly Cursed (2005). Even though that film is certainly toward the bottom of his oeuvre, I think it still has a good teen horror vibe that hopefully this series can cultivate over time. Also, and I don’t mean this disparagingly, the best bit in this whole issue is the afterword Craven right at the end. In it, Craven tells where the idea for the series came from and how he sees it unfolding. Not all of that is on the pages of this first issue, but to hear the great man lay out his vision, that’s a major attraction. It ends with the crushing coda that he thinks Coming of Rage would make a good TV series (I can certainly see that) and that he would love to make it. Man, a Wes Craven horror TV show would have been utterly badarse.
- The cover – I had this lying around for a few weeks before I had a read. For the first little bit, I thought the cover was pretty rubbish. But it really grew on me. The contrast of a normal face with a monstrous middle (and tips of fingers) and the way that middle section is a piece of paper torn away. It’s a cool bit of pretty classical horror imagery.
Things I didn’t:
- The story – I’ll acknowledge that first issues are hard to do in comics. By design, they essentially have to be solely set-up with very little actual story. The issue here is that neither of those aspects really resonate or show you anything decidedly different. There is some ok mythology, but you’ve probably seen everything here multiple times before. Neither does the ending really leave you hanging as much as it should. I’m certainly not freaking out, desperate to get my hands on #2 cause I can’t bear the tension of not knowing what happens.
- The art is a mixed back, but below average overall. Some of the landscapes and interiors are pretty good. But what dominates are the pretty average character designs. They are uniformly bland, but on a lot of occasions they descend into bad. Most dissapointing of all are the tepid monster designs that just really don’t pop off the page at all.
Verdict: I guess the main question when summarising thoughts on a comic is if I’ll keep reading. The answer is yes… just. I’m attracted more by the fact it is a limited series (6 issues I believe) and thanks to Craven’s words at the end, rather than being totally blown away by the book itself. To be blunt, if Craven’s name wasn’t on it, I would not have been continuing. It’s obviously not totally awful, but hopefully the complexity of the story continues to increase. Stubby of Reschs
Related beermovie.net articles for you to check out: Comics Review: Quick comic review: Marvel Star Wars #1 and Comic Review: Captain America the first Avenger film tie-in.