There are strange and sinister things afloat in the small, sleepy town of Blackcross. Is it good?
Project Superpowers: Blackcross #1 (Dynamite)
Here at AiPT we have done a couple of team reviews of notable horror books, namely Nameless and Wytches. However, Nameless didn’t really have any horror to mention and the horror in Wytches came from some gruesome drawings by Jock. I never felt a sense of unease or an itch to constantly look over my shoulder. In Project Superpowers: Blackcross #1 I am absolutely terrified. I am going downstairs, triple checking to make sure the door is locked, covering my mirrors, and applying bars to my windows.
It is a deep-seeded fear of mine to be under the complete control of another where they are able to do what they will with your body, while you are only able watch, unable to make a difference. Warren Ellis and Colton Worley take this premise and use it as their hook to open the book. They don’t let their foot off the horror engine the entire issue.
One of the big highlights of the plot is a team of special agents tracking a murderer. The team gives the book a Criminal Minds feel to it without the criminal profile building. Instead, Ellis and Worley focus on the crimes and the characters that are likely to be victimized next. Ellis implements a familiar storytelling technique that he uses in Trees. Outside of the special agents, he introduces two other plot lines that appear unrelated. He is able to effectively characterize each main character, mainly defining them through a significant character flaw. This flaw draws you in and connects you with them and also heightens the horror effect when the flaw is exposed. That effect is created through suspense and your connection to the character. You are left wondering when their time is up and how it will happen.
Worley does an amazing job baiting the initial hook with his artwork. He creates a serene, peaceful setting with a placid lake and twists into a shocking, horrifying crime scene. Morgan Hickman’s colors accentuate the horror, focusing your eye on the crime being committed and dulling the background. The use of the moon’s reflection on the lake emphasizes the chill in your bones. Outside of the opening scene, Worley does an excellent job with his shadowing, reinforcing the dark tone in Ellis’ writing. There are some excellent panels where you only have an inkling about what is happening, but know it is bad. He uses a smoke effect on these panels to create the terrible feeling you feel in the pit of your stomach.
Is It Good?
Project Superpowers: Blackcross #1 is a fantastic entry, keeping you horrified throughout the entire issue. Warren Ellis uses multiple plot paths to build suspense while Colton Worley provides some truly terror-filled images. This book will give you nightmares. Do not read it alone in the dark. You may become the next victim of the American Spirit!