Updated: Jan 23
I am a big horror fan. Three of my five favorite movies of all time are horror films (The Thing, In the Mouth of Madness, and Prince of Darkness for those who wanted to know.) But when it comes to horror comics I’m a little skeptical since the techniques, which films rely on to frighten us don’t translate well on the panel and page. Comics often have to rely on different methods to scare their readership and I was hoping in my reading of the horror comic called Nightfall produced by Animation Comics Entertainment.
Our story begins at an American Football game, where our protagonist Michael Vash is about to win the game for his H.S. While his sister Tori and girlfriend Melissa cheer him on he throws the game-winning touchdown. So after the game, it's the afterparty and getting skins in the bedroom probably, and afterward, probably toss some kris and then after the skins, Mike gets a kiss. We learn that his mother is mentally unwell she is being medicated for an incident that took place years ago and due to her mental instability, Michael is afraid to introduce her to Melissa. His mother is seen talking to a neighbor who just moved in recently and that is cause for concern for our hero. The next day we learn there is yet another house party that night, but this time it’s on the night of the full moon, after being warned by both his sister and his mother, Michael heads out to meet Melissa and toast it up for a second night. But Mike ain’t feeling so well and goes to get some air, when a dude who looks suspiciously like John Boyega asks him if he’s feeling okay, he begins to howl in pain and then turns into a werewolf. He probably should have listened to his family and stayed home.
I kind of saw the ending for the first issue coming, that doesn’t make it a bad thing since I actually like Werewolves. Michael is a decent main character, kind of an all-American boy, has an attractive girlfriend, well-liked, and plays football of course. The initial wrinkle in his otherwise perfect life is his mother, who I really wanted to know more about especially as it related to her mental illness or later revealed lycanthropy. Was the former a symptom of the latter? Who else is aware of their family’s nature? Was his father? This issue does a great job of making you want to read the next one because there are so many questions unanswered. Two things that pleasantly surprised me was that Nightfall had an actual honest to goodness black couple in it, which I think is not shown enough even in black indie comics, and that this couple had sex. Yes, people in real life have sex, a lot more than they fight supervillains, and so it would stand to reason that couples might actually be shown getting intimate in a comic book. (Sorry, someone had to say it.)
Dwayne Robinson does a great job of illustrating this book along with writing it. Micheal, Melissa, Tori, and all the other characters look like actual black people that is a pleasant surprise. The hair variations in the women were apt and well done, likewise, Michael’s hairline is so crisp. I enjoyed the fact that the comic started off in a black and white hue, which added to the horror element, but also reminded me of the movie Pleasantville where the black and white world was nice and perfect and the world of color was a harsh reality. My only artistic issue is the Werewolf designs, they weren’t bad they just didn’t seem particularly unique. Using such an iconic monster archetype I often like to see how people will make the appearance of the creature their own and this comic just seemed to use a fairly standard Universal Monsters/ The Howling sort of design.
As far as issue 1’s go this wasn’t bad and definitely leaves the reader wanting to know more about the Vash family secret. I’d recommend any fan of good art or horror comics to give this a look, cause I for one will be keeping an eye out for this series.
This review was written by Ra'Chaun Rogers on behalf of Concept Moon Studios. If you enjoy his comic reviews click here or more