I Hate This Place #1 is published by Image Comics, written by Kyle Starks, art by Artyom Topilin, colors by Lee Loughridge, and letters by Pat Brosseau. Gabby and Trudy are nearing the end of their long journey. Gabby’s recently deceased Great-Aunt Marilyn left her a cattle ranch out in the middle of nowhere. But shortly after settling in the happy couple discover something is terrifying about this ranch.
I like a story that doesn’t waste time establishing what it is. With an opening that is sure to get the reader’s attention, I Hate This Place #1 hits the ground running. This opening works great as a promising appetizer for the threats to come, even as the book quickly changes gears to introduce its main duo of characters.
One of the often-overlooked aspects of horror stories is the cast. You need characters that are memorable and likable if the audience is going to get fully invested in their life-threatening struggles. Writer Starks does a phenomenal job with the introduction of both Gabby and Trudy to readers. Both seem like good people, who each have their notable traits that make them stand out as individuals and not just mobile scream factories for the monsters to chase. What’s more, Starks does a fantastic job of writing them as a couple. The playful pokes and jabs that litter their dialogue feel like it springs from two people who know what they can joke about with each other while doing it from a place of playful love.
Once readers get to the back half of the story I Hate This Place #1 kicks it into high gear. There is no slow, subtle build-up of tension. Starks hits the happy couple with a series of encounters and revelations that would freak the most hardened soul out. But with a warning that trying to leave could make the situation exponentially worse, it looks like the duo may just have to find a way to survive.
While the story doesn’t reveal anything meaningful about the origin or nature of the paranormal phenomenon infesting Gabby and Trudy’s new ranch, what readers do learn about the nature of the threats, and the rules that govern them, crafts a scenario that is likely to pique the interest of many readers. It is the mystery surrounding the whys of this ranch that has me most interested in learning more.
I Hate This Place #1‘s atmosphere and horror are further amplified by Topilin’s well-executed art. While some of the art feels a bit rough for my taste, the artist captures the shock and horror of the books magnificently. The handling of the tone and terror of the book’s narrative more than makes up for some minor shortcomings in the polish of the designs.
The energy of the book’s most memorable moments is also enriched by Loughridge’s excellent colors. The colorist does a great job of utilizing just the right palette to give the panels that extra creepy vibe. The dialogue placement always provides a natural flow for the reader to follow and the sound effect design always blend in perfectly with the rest of the art.
When all is said and done, I Hate This Place #1 gets its narrative off to a fantastic start. How Gabby and Trudy will handle their newly found nightmare feels like a journey many horror comics fans will want to get on board for.
I Hate This Place #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.
I Hate This Place #1
I Hate This Place #1 gets its narrative off to a fantastic start. How Gabby and Trudy will handle their newly found nightmare feels like a journey many horror comics fans will want to get on board for.