- Forgotten Hymns #1
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- Issue 2 coming May 11, 2021 to Kickstarter
- Created & Written by Andrew Guilde
- Illustrated by Isaac Perez
- Letters by DC Hopkins
- Covers by
- Isaac Perez
- Ben Templesmith (Kickstarter exclusive)
- Luca Vassallo (Occult variant)
In the world of Maxwell Richmond, former CEO of Richmond Capital, there are very few people you can rely on. That goes double in Max’s case, whose more unsavory predilections can do the most damage and secrets are pricey. Now Lillian, Max’s daughter and heir to the empire, is spending more time cleaning up her father’s messes than she’d like. In the end, it remains to be seen how dark Maxwell’s secrets truly are, to what degree is Lillian really aware of them, and how far she’s willing to go to bury them.
I do love a good conspiracy story. The very best lay out a chain of events in a sort of action/reaction scenario for a balancing act that becomes increasingly precarious. The equation relies on a few things to hold up under the readers’ scrutiny. First, the cause & effect relationship has to be serious enough that it reflects the lengths to which characters will go to protect their interests. Second, evidence has to be carefully parsed out, giving readers a trail of breadcrumbs that isn’t too obvious but is enough to make us feel like we earned the eventual reveal. Finally, there has to be a reason for us to care about the outcome, one way or the other. That last factor requires time & effort, building up to a level of investment on the reader’s part. It’s not easy to pull off over the course of a comic book series because of the brevity of the individual issues, and the length of time between them.
In Forgotten Hymns, Andrew Guilde has his work cut out for him, but he’s off to a pretty decent start. This opening issue introduces Lillian Richmond and her trusted majordomo Howard Clayborn, well into their campaign to weed out her father’s dirty secrets before they can rear up to be used against the company. We’re also introduced to Lillian’s opposition, Agent Randy Williamson, hard at work connecting the dots in order to get a look at the dark & sinister picture hidden beneath the surface. It’s a lot of ground work to lay out within the confines of a single issue, especially when coupled with some of the darker details being seeded throughout to give it all a little extra flavor. While I often think that stories like this do better in a longer format, I can’t deny that Guilde has done some solid work piquing my interest. The elements he’s set up so far have gotten me curious to see where we’re going next. As a writer trying to build a story that gets people to come back for a second issue- and more, hopefully- curiosity is a good thing.
Artist Isaac Perez carries his share of the workload, using a style that’s just a little unsettling. His character designs are pretty straightforward, depicting more or less ordinary folk going about their business, but there’s something about the details… If pushed for a more elaborate explanation, I can only say that everyone in these pages just looks shady, with a general suggestion of furtive looks, twitchy eyes, & a sense of disquiet. It’s all in the details seeded throughout the panels, aide by a mostly black & white format. It’s all a series of visual cues that seem to lead the reader down the rabbit hole, inch by disturbing inch.
Without a doubt, there’s a lot more going on in the larger story of Forgotten Hymns. While I would have liked to have a little more time to settle into it, I can’t deny that what I’ve seen so far has me wondering about how far into the abyss we’re going to be looking. It should find an audience among readers of H.P. Lovecraft, whose works I’ve been dipping into a little more lately, as well as fans of occult & supernatural conspiracies. Be sure to check back in for the second issue’s Kickstarter campaign, set to start up on May 11th, for a chance to catch up and to dig in a little deeper.
Final Score: 10/13