Only once in many moons does a comic book with such a harrowing title, psychedelic art style and bone-chilling cover present itself. It was my good fortune to be given a chance to read this comic book, and my privilege to ask the question: is it good?
Colder: Toss the Bones #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
From this comic I understood that Colder is a story that existed before this particular iteration, and I resigned myself to the notion that I would not be going back to study what had happened in the story before this point. With that in mind, I tried my hardest to let the plot wash over me, while I really scrutinized the assorted imagery in the comic.
The first really arresting image was that of the story’s antagonist, Nimble Jack. He is a truly whacky character whose movements bring the comic to life. He slides across the panels in such a way that makes your skin crawl. His schizophrenic psyche is represented by his deranged make-up and crazy attire. How Jack smiles, how his hands grip the heads of his victims as he is about to claim their lives…everything works magically to create an image of a feral lunatic bereft of mercy or sanity and it’s completely haunting. The character’s whole personality is shaped by the artists’s uncanny ability to present expressions and movement in ways that seem cinematic and almost lifelike.
Another recurring image that added to the personality of the comic was the pigeons. I don’t think there was a page of this issue that did not feature at least one bird. The pigeons were used for gruesome murder, as well as being seen just waiting along the border of the panel, the frightening image was that the pigeons were always there. Ever present and ready to feast on human flesh, the pigeons increased the comic’s sense of claustrophobia, making the reader feel trapped in and without any means of escape. That combined with the sheer filth of the pigeons made for a grimy atmosphere and horrifying, apocalyptic vibe.
Juan Ferreyra executed the art duties for this issue, and they were carried out masterfully. As I said before, the line work and motion of the characters were a highlight. Everyone looked realistic but were easily transmutable into grotesque fictional depictions of violence and horror. Shadowing also played an important and sizable role in making this comic spooky. Eyes were darkened, dark silhouettes were cast and bright day would turn to eerie night casting a mystically scary atmosphere on the whole issue.
My one gripe with Toss the Bones‘s opening issue was some of the dialogue felt a little clunky. The author was clearly tying to recap what had happened previously in the franchise and in doing so created unnatural sounding conversations. This was a minor flaw in the comic, but compensated for by Nimble Jack’s creepy monologues, another high-point of the issue.
Is It Good?
Colder: Toss the Bones #1 aptly starts what looks to be a very compelling horror story. There are many fun and bone-chilling stylistic tools in place that make this issue an enjoyable and satisfying read. You will not soon be able to purge Nimble Jack’s menacing character from your brain. This is a truly frightening comic with a pitch-perfect villain.