Redlands is my favorite horror comic on the stands today because it defies your expectations. It’s also incredibly adult. The last three issues have been solid (and even made it into our monthly POP), but with a crazy cliffhanger last issue, what’s going to happen next?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
The witches’ coven has been shaken by a disturbing near-death experience, and something is brewing under the surface. There’s a river in the town that leads to the darkest place, where the forgotten die alone but never forget.
Why does this matter?
Vanesa R. Del Rey is doing things you just don’t see in comics every week or even every month. Her style is gritty and raw, which makes the themes and story even more horrific. It’s also uncompromising. Mixing her art with Jordie Bellaire’s color lends an interesting glow to the imagery that adds extra oomph to the supernatural elements in the series.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
“Bed time story” and Stephen King shouldn’t be synonomous.
Customary of this series so far it opens unexpectedly with Ro reading Salem’s Lot to a little girl in sunglasses. The book itself is inappropriate, but we quickly learn she’s into death and horrible things and that she may not be a little girl at all. Soon Ro learns what happened to Bridget and the story carries on from where we last left off. Something very odd is going on with her after her fall into the swamp and, maybe due to their incredible power, the other witches are hoping her confusion will solve itself. This issue also explores an interesting new development of ghosts and two supporting characters named Casper and Max get some interesting character work. It appears Del Rey and Bellaire are creating quite a complex set of characters in this strange and scary town where nothing is what it seems.
Bridget ends up going on an adventure of sorts and brings Casper into it. This element of the story sort of comes out of left field, and quickly becomes a strange side story indeed. By the end, the cliffhanger will leave you with more questions, but also theories of your own.
Del Rey draws yet another good issue with some haunting visuals due to good layouts, but also interesting colors/lighting. Del Rey also draws a strong female form that’s believable and unique. These women aren’t the sexualized types you see in comics and magazines, but full figured and normal looking. There’s also an interesting use of long panels that help fit dialogue, but also give the reader an interesting perspective on a scene. There’s mise en scene everywhere and it helps tell the story.
The vampires should always win.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m still feeling a bit of shock from the big built up villain getting killed last issue, which seems to have been dropped entirely here. This issue is a bit untethered from the plot that came before it and instead introduces this new strange little girl and the ghost element. We’re only four issues in and it’s still unclear how this town functions in the grand scheme of things or even how these women can rule without getting caught. That does add a sense of mystery, but it also leaves you with a lot of questions.
Is It Good?
Redlands #4 introduces new story elements that lays on even more horror elements into the series. There are mysteries being discovered and introduced that give the series many more issues of content to explore.