Unfortunately for the poor townsfolk of Archer’s Peak, Wisconsin, their kids are dying and going missing. The bodyparts and count are beginning to pile up and no one has a clue as to how to stop it except for a young woman who strolls into town named Erica Slaughter. But who is she? And more importantly, why isn’t she afraid like everyone else?
Writer James Tynion IV (The Woods, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and artist Werther Dell’Edera (Loveless) present Something is Killing the Children #2, the continuation of a creepy new horror series that is sure to catch your attention.
Something is Killing the Children #2 starts with Erica and James heading into a knockoff version of Applebees to essentially work on a plan of where to start looking for the monsters that have claimed the lives of James’s friends. James, unfortunately, watched his friends meet their demise in the first issue and met Erica at the closing of the book. Issue #2 essentially works as a great setup for the long journey ahead for our so far two main protagonists. The story effectively breadcrumbs the reader with enough character information and plot points to keep us fully engaged and interested without entirely giving away the gameplan Erica has in store against the creatures. The pacing in this issue feels effortless as Tynion keeps the dialogue and pages filled with enough going on to keep our eyes glued to the very last page.
Something is Killing the Children is a stunning new series that arrives right on the heels of successful franchises like Stranger Things — only with a sword welding badass named Erica taking the reins instead of a telekinesis character like Eleven. What you’ll love most about the storyline besides the eerie mystery behind what’s happening to the children is how integral the town of Archer’s Peak is to the plot. Tynion does a great job of plucking at our emotional heartstrings with subtle panels; for example, where we see a missing child notice on a dresser. We get to see things like a brother coping with the loss of his missing sister. Tynion uses things like that to show how the tragedies that have occurred to different families have affected their lives. It’s also good to see Tynion let his creative juices flow without the constriction of other projects he works on, like Batman or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Erica is an intriguing character shrouded in the same type of complex mystery as the missing children. The only difference is she has a very sarcastic temperament and knows how to use a gun and a sword incredibly well. We don’t know much about her motives yet besides murdering monsters, but she has such finesse to her character that will easily make her a fan favorite. If anyone recalls the 1986 classic film Critters, she reminds me between a cross of the bounty hunters from that movie mixed with The Bride from Kill Bill. It’ll be interesting to see if she’ll be enough brute strength to take down the horrid creatures that await.
Dell’Edera adds some superb linework to the dark and gloomy world of Archer’s Peak. His illustrations not only capture the essence of the story but do an impeccable job of delivering the kind of edginess it needs. His artistic vision with every page turn is a constant reminder that this is a horror story filled with grittiness, doubt, loss, and unapologetic violence. I think the scene of the first issue with James’s friends being torn to shreds by the creatures of the night is just a sampling of great grotesque things to come.
Something is Killing the Children #2 is an effective setup issue that clearly details the direction the series is looking to carry the story this chapter. The creep factor is there, the pacing is on point, and we still have a lot to learn about the characters. Tynion and Dell’Edera are a great match and I can’t wait to see what they have in store next for us. If you’re a fan of horror comics, you should be reading this series.