Review: John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction: Hell #1
Written by David J. Schow
Illustrated & Coloured by Andres Esparza & Sergio Martinez
Published by Storm King Comics
Released in April, 2021
Tales of Science Fiction: Hell #1 is the beginning of a new comic series created by Horror icon John Carpenter (The Thing, Halloween) and written by David J. Schow (The Crow, Leatherface).
Strange and monstrous events have emerged across America, dividing the world in unexpected ways. Is Hell breaking loose or is the overworld digging a little too deep? It’s up to a ragtag team of unique specialists and individuals to uncover the underworld and it’s secrets.
Andres Esparza’s artwork is delightfully gritty and bleak with standout characters that add colour beyond the story and their minimal personalities (thus far).
The colour palette of acidic greens and Cthulu blues coloured by Sergio Martinez give this story a consistent Carpenteresque tone; eerie, otherworldly and odd.
A foreshadow of what is sure to be a grim and glorious gorefest looms over the artwork with brutal murders given a dramatic yet comical touch.
The storytelling here is insanity incarnate, and rarely in the best way. Scenes seem to end inexplicably or change in tonality suddenly as if pages are missing. Thank god for two different synopses otherwise I would have no idea what was going on.
Schow has a reliance on “You know this thing? Yeah, that.” to convey a narrative and unfortunately it comes off as cheap and uncreative. I would know because I use it to provide a comparative baseline for comics I review! Using the fourth wall in this capacity can break immersion and declare your story as inferior or amateurish in comparison to your comparison.
Speaking of, the story is reminiscent of Hellboy’s BPRD and the Sci-Fi masterpiece that is Arrival. Leaning heavily into underworld mythology and the occult with a diverse team of academics, occultists and even a reptile!
As the first issue of a brand-new series, the story and artwork of John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction: Hell #1 is in a word, weird. Weird enough to keep it puzzling but engaging, purely so I can better understand what is happening in the hopes that it builds to something tangible and unique.
As a standalone comic however, there is unfortunately little to no focus for the enticing ideas presented. Jargonistic dialogue and jumbled structure pulls the magic and intrigue of the comic straight to Hell.
Let us know in the comments what you think of John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction: Hell #1, your favourite John Carpenter film and what animal humanoid you’d take on a trip!
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