(W) Steve Niles (@SteveNiles)
Monica Bleue and her father move away to the country to start a new life after the death of her mother. Though she’s not speaking to her dad, she begins to find her way out from her anger and grief in her new surroundings. But while out wandering the forests near their home, she comes face to face with a hidden horror that changes her forever. Steve Niles and Damien Worm bring you Monica Bleue: A Werewolf Story, the first story in the new monthly anthology series, John Carpenter Presents Storm Kids
If you’ve read StormKing comics in the past, you’re used to things being dark, demonic, and thoroughly disturbing. So the idea of them starting Storm Kids, there new Young Adult line, might seem a bit off. While I understand the sentiment, StormKing is known for making awesome comics. So when they dropped a new werewolf book on Wednesday by Steve Niles, I was beyond curious.
The story opens with Monica and her dad packing up their big city apartment for a move to places unknown, and Monica is furious about it. Our first view of Monica is as a distraught teen with bright red hair sitting in the remains of her bedroom. Monica is giving her dad the silent treatment for tearing her away from everything she’s ever known.
All packet up, father and daughter make one last stop as they leave their urban home, at a cemetery. Monica’s mother, Elizabeth, is dead. The reason for the move becomes apparent. A husband who’s lost his wife is looking to make a fresh start for him and his daughter. He gives Monica her private time by her mother’s grave, and she understandably breaks down. Monica misses her mother, says her father has changed, and loaths the idea of being a big city girl forced to live in the country.
The next scene opens on the moving truck pulling away from a large country home, complete with and empty chicken coop. Dad, the only name we know him by, try to excite his daughter about the idea of fresh eggs in the morning, but his attempts to connect with his daughter are dashed with a vicious, “I HATE YOU!” delivered with all the rage and vitriol of a teenage daughter who’s world was just shattered.
Dad does manage to score some points when he brings some chickens home to roost. This elicits the first smile we see from Monica. It’s here that I took a moment to ponder the amazing healing power of pets. Be it chicken, horses, cats, or dogs, there something special about the animals we bring into our lives. Pets might add an extra detail when it comes to traveling, but I believe our lives are better with pets.
After feeding the chickens, Monica goes for a walk in the woods. So far we haven’t even dipped out toes into things that make a StormKing book…well, a StormKing book. That changes now!
While enjoying the woods, Monica sees the beauty of a fawn in the woods, a wonder of crow in flight, and the terror of a werewolf gouging on a deer. Caught somewhere between disbelief, confusion, and terror, Monica is practically frozen in place. She only finds her feet when the werewolf charges. Defending herself with a pointed stick Monica is able to retreat back to her house, but not before the werewolf claws her arm. Dad helps a terrified Monica into the house and tries to bandage her wound, but through all the blood her gashes are gone. Like it never happened.
Predictably, the preview of issue two shows Monica as a werewolf.
Steve Niles is able to accomplish a whole lot of story and exposition with not a whole lot of dialog. That’s no easy feat and shows a huge amount of trust in the skills of artist Damien Worm. The environments play a huge the storytelling in this first issue. The uses of color and shadow are used to great effect. As the story progresses and we see more werewolf action, I’m excited to see the visuals are handled.
A very solid 10/13
About Storm Kids: John Carpenter and Sandy King have brought you every horror imaginable, and now… they’re coming for your kids. Storm King Comics is excited to introduce our new YA line, John Carpenter Presents Storm Kids, a monthly anthology series bringing horror and sci-fi to a whole new generation of fans. With the quality you’ve come to expect, we’re bringing some of the greatest writers and artists together to spin spooky stories and twisted tales for younger readers, the John Carpenter way! Intended for readers ages 10 and up. Honor students are great, but is your kid a Storm Kid?