I’ve read enough of Fraser Campbell’s work to know that he hits us with stories that I can’t get enough of and I jumped at the chance to get an early look at his newest creation, Nightmare Fuel.
It tells the story of global conglomerate EctoCo who have stepped in to save the world and provide a whole host of daily essentials albeit at a cost. Their patented technique sees them tapping into the supernatural essence of those creatures that go bump in the night with us getting a glimpse of that process from 2 perspectives – young executive Arlo McTeague at the heart of the corporate machine and a monster hunting team on the frontline.
The balance of boardroom and battlefield allows us a glimpse at the conscience free decisions from both and with each side being content that their targets are an acceptable price to pay for the survival of the human race. There’s more bubbling under the surface in this one though and with Arlo seeing the real corporate face behind the very public persona it’s clear that there’s a much more cynical approach to the world they’re “saving”.
The unravelling of the corporate facade for Arlo is matched by the unravelling of the latest hunt as the whole team seems to be misfiring in what would normally be a well-oiled machine. A botched hunt may not be the worst thing for them though as they soon find themselves with a target on their backs as the resulting attack brings with it the next set of bad luck that they could all do without.
Fraser has AGAIN created the opening issue of a new series that has tapped into the raw inventiveness as only he knows how and with the resonating element of corporate influence injected into this one it feels like it’s far more relevant than being JUST about a story of hunting monsters. The two finally balanced plots are well connected and with action, mystery, and disaster creeping into both there is a definite feeling that you want to read more.
Teaming up with Norrie Millar on art duties is a master stroke with the style being pitch-perfect in finding the seedy side of a corporation and teaming that up with the energy & risk that a monster hunt brings. The combo of writing in art is most obvious around those characters as the personalities come through to hammer home the dilemma’s and devious dealings that they exude from both plots. There are a few pages with ALOT of narrative/dialogue on them but Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou does his typical expert job in keeping things tidy enough so that the art and story can still shine. Heather Palmer rounds off that creative team on editing duties and manages to keep everything as tight as possible to make the world stand out in an opener that really impresses.
The clash of ideas from Fraser and the team is allowed to work so well due to the efforts they are all putting in and the momentum from the very first page is sustained with an effortless ease that only comes from everyone chipping in. The only niggle for me was just how wordy some of those pages were but the momentum and flow never seemed to be disrupted by that at all in the end and I found myself able to read & re-read without it holding things back. That being said, my minor quibble is not something that can detract from how impressive this book and the team involved really are. BIG questions wrapped up in a glorious first issue convinces me that the six-issue run will be one to stick around for AND to shout about…….and that all starts with this one – GO GET THIS BOOOOOOKKKKK!!!!
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