Ghost Island #5: Writer/Letterer – Joseph Oliveira, Artist – Anabela Turlione, Cover – Shindy Reehal
One of the first series Joey created hit it’s penultimate issue and we open with a bit more detail on Josh’s past before hurtling back to the current chaos on the island that’s built across those previous issues. The quest for survival is still rumbling on and with the few remaining people from the invited group actually still drawing breath, Josh is forced into facing evil and performing an exorcism….as you do. There’s a race towards the boat to get the hell away from the place but there are still plans revolving around Josh that are building up for the finale.
Joey has kept this flowing steadily across the previous issues and with this fifth entry he’s kept the twists & turns coming but leaving enough loose ends to make that sixth issue a must. The amount of dialogue has been brought back under control which helps guide this one back into the strength we saw in the early issues and the pacing through this one has picked up in a blur of questions & scares that take things up a level. Anabela’s art is just as consistent as ever and still balances out the past and present exceptionally well with just the right amount of dark & light to keep a sinister edge to the darker moments. Kudos to Joey on lettering as well as he’s keeping the dialogue in check through this & his overall tightening of the story. Roll on number six.
Rise of the Goatman: Writer/Letterer – Joseph Oliveira, Artist – Adrian Manuel Garcia, Cover – Francesco Iaquinta
A surprise trip away from the stresses of work and daily life sees a couple & their daughter head off into the wilds to get some R&R in a cabin. The cabin in question has a history though and the discovery of a diary brings that grim reality into the present as more strange discoveries begin to crop up. It all sets things up to get gruesome and sooner than you can say “escape to the country” it’s gets real bloody, real fast.
This feels like a slick addition to the Afterlight titles and jumping into a one-shot gives this a suitable punch to it as the scares begin to creep into the tale. The natural family vibe from the core characters and the contrast of the unnatural evil that they find in the cabin are a great blend of ideas and while it may not be new territory for the horror genre it’s got something fresh to it among the other comics they’ve released. The art from Adrian is pitch perfect for the unravelling world of evil that’s bleeding into the family’s everyday life and there’s just as much to be said for what’s hinted at as much as what we’re shown. Unsettling but intriguing in equal measure….the Goatman has got a ton of potential for more and with talk of this being revisited at some point, it’s a good time to get a look at this one.
Wendigo Wood #3: Writer/Letterer – Joseph Oliveira, Artist – Vukasin Ivkovic, Cover – Francesco Iaquinta.
The tale of a retired war vet, Hank Williamson, on the search for his missing daughter has already had a strong sense of mystery injected into it form the beginning but here we start to see the level of influence the cult has that he’s already come into contact with across issues #1 & #2. That influence becomes more & more apparent here, with every step he takes bringing him closer to being in their clutches and when we start to see some of their day-to-day practices in action there’s obviously a darker side to them than we even expected. There’s also time for some revelations that come out of the blue which is all thanks to how well written & paced this story is.
The attention to detail from Joey is more than enough to highlight how good this series is at creating a particularly high level of consistency in the issues so far. That quality shines through as it builds towards that finale to come in issue four and I can’t wait to see more revelations & surprises. Artwise, Vukasin creates a stunning sense of atmosphere across his pages given the subject matter, and that is a major factor in contributing to how well the plot points land. Joey’s lettering here is great as well, as it really lets the visuals tell the story and the overall power of a father’s search really hits home with every discovery he makes. Disturbingly good and probably one of the clearest indicators of the progress Joey & Afterlight have made with each of their releases.
Stay Awake #3: Writer/Letterer – Joseph Oliveira, Artist – Adrian Manuel Garcia, Cover – Dominic Racho.
Another series that eases into its penultimate issue is Stay Awake, where Joey continues the story of psychologist Issac Banks as he revisits the cases of three former patients when a detective pays him a visit. Issues #1 & #2 already built up a significant uneasy feeling for both Isaac & the reader but with this third issue we delve into the last case and then start some real trouble for Isaac himself. The details of each case have been intricate but the devil is in the detail in the case of this series so it gets away with a large amount of dialogue without it being weighed down too much. Balancing that out with some dark & spooky reveals is a smart way to work through the story and it’s already generated a high level of anticipation for the final issue.
Joey’s writing & lettering again come into their own here and the back n forth between his storytelling and the artwork from Adrian allows the doubts in the main characters minds & the haunting elements to creep in just enough to give this the edgy feeling it needs. The unsettling feeling has been tangible from the first issue but in this issue they’re turning the screw in preparation for the last issue and it’s got that car crash appeal where you want to stop reading but you just can’t. It’s nightmare stuff….but in a good way if that’s even a thing 😀