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Cold Spots #1 Review

Following the conclusion of Harrow County earlier this summer, Cullen Bunn returns with a new horror miniseries, Cold Spots, alongside artist Mark Torres that promises “psychological terror, the undead, and a supernaturally bitter cold.” With the first issue now available, does it live up to the promise?

Unfortunately, not as much as eager horror fans might hope as Bunn’s script leaves us feeling rather…cold (I’m sorry) while Torres’ art does most of the heavy lifting.

Dan Kerr, a quippy investigator, is on a collision course with a Shutter Island level shared delusion or haunting that seems to manifest in the form of phantasmal and murderous figures of forgotten or dead loved ones — potentially, including his own estranged wife and daughter. Will he make it out alive? Will anyone else?

It’s a by the numbers first issue, introducing the reader to story beats: ghosts (maybe?), our hero, a mysterious missing woman and daughter, and more in such quick succession that plot points are difficult to hang onto as they pass to the next page. The archetypal butler, somewhat off-putting benefactor, and hero’s groan-inducing one-liners don’t help as they’re sandwiched between the issue’s genuinely shocking and compelling introduction and conclusion without much direction between them.

In fact, you might entirely miss that that same mysterious woman and daughter are supposed to be Dan’s abandoned wife and daughter, I certainly did until I reread Image’s miniseries description.

The truly captivating effort here, then, is Torres’. Jumping between notes of sepia and pages awash in bright greens, purples, pinks, and blues – the art carries an otherwise standard issue into something more evocative. Particularly cool, and chilling, is the way the ghosts at hand, “cold spots” as they might be, appear on the page, kind of sketched or ethereal over otherwise traditionally illustrated and composed scenes – haunting stuff that I am genuinely looking forward to seeing more of in future issues.

And really, that’s where the entire issue leaves us – wanting to see what’s coming in future issues. Not the worst thing, especially for a horror comic, as they can lose steam quickly, but also not the best for a miniseries that treads just a bit too much water in its introductory issue.

Cold Spots #1
Is it good?
A first issue weak on plot and pacing but heavy on the creepy, ethereal aesthetic leaves this outing feeling slightly underdeveloped if compelling.
Torres seems to understand, and implements, color like few others doing horror comics now.
The introductory and closing segments are tense and haunting, simultaneously implying a bigger picture.
Pacing is a real issue here, there's simply too much unsaid as the issue breezes by.
The main character's one-liners are groan worthy.

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