Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Werther Dell’Edera
Colorist: Miquel Muerto
Letterer: Andworld Design
Cover By: Werther Dell’Edera & Miquel Muerto
Variant Cover By: Emma Rios & Miquel Muerto
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Available: June 10
“We’re not heroes, we’re hunters. Don’t forget that.”
Out this week from Boom! Studios is the second arc premier (ie, #7) of the now-ongoing Something is Killing the Chidlren (see my issue one review here). James Tynion, Werther Dell’Edera and crew are back with more of the evolving story of Erica Slaughter, bad-ass monster hunter with a kaiju-sized chip on her shoulder–and of the House of Slaughter itself.
The beast menacing Archer’s Peak is finally dead, thanks to Erica and local outcast-cum-monster slayer (well, helper…ok, bait) James Mahoney. All’s good, the lovely little Wisconsin nowhere town can live happily ever after and Erica can slay fell beasties in some other burg, right?
In a word: No.
First, there’s the pieces to put back together in Archer’s Peak. Like, literally the pieces of the town’s children. And the village’s collective psyche—you see, the grownups are still in the dark about the monster having existed in the first place, and the grieving parents are going to want answers.
And second? Well, the tale of our Class E-7 terror isn’t quite as complete as we might have thought.
Turns out the Beast of Archer’s Peak was a mom. Who had kids, as in plural. Like, lots of kids. Hungry, grieving kids. Oh, and mom and kiddoes alike are oscuratypes, baddies who only become corporeal when they’re feeding.
And the House of Slaughter, the monster-slaying order from which Erica operates, has decided she is in need of assistance. To that end, they’ve sent the extensively-educated and not-just-slightly-condescending Aaron to clean up her mess. To put it mildly, they’re not fans of each other.
If you’ve not read the first six issues of Something is Killing the Children, well, first you need to correct that—and thankfully, Boom! Is making that easy on you; they’re also releasing a gorgeous collected trade of the full first arc, just in time for issue 7 to drop. Second, even if you choose not to, this is a great jumping-on point. The vibe remains equal parts Buffy the Vampire Slayer and It, and Tynion’s storytelling skills remain top notch. He deftly introduces new characters and story arcs without bogging things down with too much dialogue, and leaves much of the tale hinted at and suggested, as good horror should be. And he trusts his artists.
And Dell’Edera and Muerto’s work remain deserving of that faith. Consistent with the first arc, Dell’Edera’s style remains spare and slightly stylized. We get to see, at this point, a bit more of Erica’s fury, and a bit more awareness of the monster hunters as slightly something other than human. Dell’Edera’s lines are bold and powerful, and Muerto’s colors are rich and evocative, conveying the mood and tone of Tynion’s tale and enhancing the power of Dell’Edera’s lines.
Andworld Design gets to play a bit with the lettering this issue—and to excellent effect. Sound effects become a part of the art, particularly in action sequences, and join a very effective flow for the overall appearance of the story.
As I found myself in issue one, I look forward to the series as it continues—to discovering more about the House of Slaughter, of Erica’s background in the order (her disdain for Aaron and previous interactions in the first arc suggest a less-than-congenial relationship), of the tension between the House’s ethics versus those of Erica, who clearly is of differing stock. An excellent series; kudos to all around.
Something is Killing the Children #7 will be available from Boom! Studios June 10. Those of you wanting to catch up on the first arc can also pick up a beautiful softcover trade collection (complete with Jenny Frison’s gorgeous issue #1 variant cover), out at the same time. So get thee to thine LCS’s websites (or Amazon or ComiXology) and get ordering, people!
Review by Andy Patch,