Pullbox Reviews Banshees #1- A coed-stalking serial killer is no excuse not to study

Emily is entering her first year of college and looking to reinvent herself after the loss of her best friend. But when she discovers the terrible history of her dormitory, she channels her guilt into a new obsession: discovering the truth about The Lion, a serial killer that stalked her college campus for nearly a decade. But old ghosts can lay dormant for only so long…

In 1987, Penn State University student Mitsuko Kato is found dead, followed by Gigi Hartman in 1991 and Bonita Applebum in 1993. All three young women were victims of the same killer, who remains at large and part of local legend. Now Emily Edwards is set to attend the prestigious college and through a series of strange events, she’s drawn into the stories of the murders and compelled to learn more about the women who are still waiting for justice.

Dave Dwonch puts together some sharp dialogue between the characters, maybe with a bump or two as attitudes take sharp turns from “go pound salt” to “hey, we should hang out”. Any cases of whiplash should be smoothed over by a well-thought-out mix of believable college students & classic horror movie archetypes. More important, at least to me, this comic has a slick little spin on the old tale. There are a lot of ghost stories on the market, so when pitching yet another tale of lingering spirits, you’d need a good angle to set yours apart from the herd. In Banshees, a story scripted by Dave Dwonch and co-created with Jessica Balboni, that requirement is met, passed by, and waved at in the rearview mirror.

I gotta tell ya, though, a big selling point in Banshees is in the artwork by Riccardo Faccini. His style is just detailed enough to get a point across and rough enough to hint at a touch of chaos. And when the violence ensues, Faccini pours it on like it’s hot sauce and he’s mad at his gastrointestinal tract. All that effort is wholly supported by the color palettes used by Dam. Like the rest of the series, it’s all about the mood. If a scene is light & fun, colors are bright. If someone is being ruthlessly murdered, colors are toned down… except for arterial red, of course.

This review might seem like it’s on the short side, but I’m bumping into a problem of excess: the amazing people at Scout Comics gave me the entire series to blaze through, and I’m trying to give solid insights on the first issue without dipping into spoiler territory. Let me just say that if there are rough patches early on, the story ramps up and delivers big time in the back half.

Final Score: 11/13

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