Pullbox Reviews: Resonant #1- When the Void calls, what do you do?

A decade has passed since the first Waves hit, unleashing humanity’s darkest impulses and plunging the world into chaos. Paxton, a single father of three, must venture from the secluded haven they’ve built to restock the medicine his chronically ill youngest son needs to survive. When the somewhat routine trip goes awry, Paxton and his children—now separated—will battle everything in their path to reunite.

Written by industry veteran David Andry, RESONANT is instantly compelling. This deeply crafted world is brought to life with inks from Ale Aragon, colors from Jason Wordie, and letters by Deron Bennett.

RESONANT hits shelves in July, 2019!

“Our worst impulses unleashed…”

That’s all the lead in we get before Resonant kicks off. No backstory. No narrator telling us why we need to worry about a family all alone in the woods, a father and his three children living in a house with an overgrown yard. But we do figure out fairly soon that Bec and her brothers, Ty & Stef, are growing up in a world chillingly different from our own. It’s a world where children are comfortable with the need for a safe-room, at home in beds equipped with straps to hold them in place. When their father has to leave them alone for a while as he goes in search of medicine, we know that we should be even more concerned than we’d normally be at the idea of these children being left on their own.

One last piece of information, we get from the dad. He tells Bec that it might not seem like it, but with the latest lull between waves, the kids have had it pretty easy. That when the next wave hits, they need to be ready to lock themselves into the safe-room and strap each other down. Finally, that they can hold out in the room for six months if they have to… ‘if he doesn’t make it back’ being the sentiment left unsaid.

“Show, don’t tell,” is storytelling where the reader learns what’s going on through the course of the story itself, usually along with the characters. No preamble, no explanation, it allows us to take it all in and learn as we go. It’s a balancing act that doesn’t assume an audience needs to be led by the hand, but gets them invested in the narrative and the characters involved. Sure, when handled poorly, it’s not very long before the story falls to the wayside and we move on to the next diversion. When done well, it’s a thing of beauty.

Resonant is doing it well.

David Andry is a writer who seems to be very much aware of the jaded nature of modern readers. He also seems to think that our “pffft… whatever” attitude is cute, so be warned. While there are no sudden jumps or scares to be seen in this opening issue, there is a quiet, lurking sense of dread. Andry delivers a story that’s unfolding, and there are several times in reading Resonant that I found myself turning back to double check on a piece of foreshadowing. He may not be revealing anything, but he’s definitely seeding his book with chills that didn’t catch up with me until a couple pages past… and I’m not giving any of them away, so don’t ask.

By way of visuals, artist Alejandro Aragon delivers a world of ragged lines and serrated edges where the smallest detail can be a precursor to horrors to come. Don’t be fooled by the opening pages, where Bec is introduced to us as she plants flowers in an idyllic country setting. It’s a trap. Every quiet, peaceful moment in Resonant is laid out to lull you into a false sense of security, and I picture Aragon sitting at his drawing board, chuckling quietly to himself as he sets the bait. His panels are arranged with all of the detail you could ask for, and every innocuous little thing could be a clue to silently shambling horrors to come.

The visuals are given their final tweaks by Jason Wordie & Deron Bennett. The color palette used by Wordie is fairly simple, giving the reader easy focal points on the page. His shading is minimalistic, which works well with Aragon’s densely packed exteriors… all of the detail is there to see but it isn’t a confused jumble. We can see the work without having to sort through any excess background noise.

Finally, but by no means lastly, Bennett’s lettering is spot on perfect for the tone of the book. If Resonant were a movie, it would be punctuated by abrupt silences followed by sound that starts out small- a barely noticeable buzz in the ear- but builds to a rumbling that’s felt as much as heard. Bennett conveys that sense in his use of sound effects on the page, and it’s a thing that should have him on track for sainthood.

I sincerely hope that Resonant’s opening issue isn’t a shot in the dark, that the rest of the series can uphold the expectations this crew has established. This is horror at its absolute best, and it’s done without shock and awe. The world of Resonant is empty and full of horrors…

Final score: a skulking, creepifying, quietly gibbering 10+

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