Cold Spots #1
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Mark Torres
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Reviewed by Evan Maroun
Finding yourself hiding in the shade a lot around this time of summer? Maybe the A/C just isn’t cutting it anymore? Well, Cullen Bunn (Harrow County, X-Men Blue) and Mark Torres (Judge Dredd, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) are hoping to chill your bones with their haunting new horror series from Image titled Cold Spots. Having the pleasure of receiving an advance look at the first issue, I’m going to refrain from spoilers and from making any cold puns from here on out. Hold me to that.
Cold Spots #1 revolves around Dan Kerr, a man sporting a distinct leather jacket, who gets summoned to the mansion of shady Arthur Warren one night under murky circumstances. Having a previous arrangement with Kerr that has been upheld for 8 years, the two had planned to never meet again. As fate would have it, Warren now finds himself in need of his help. His daughter and granddaughter have gone missing, and he wants Dan to find them. Why this is exactly, and why Dan is the best person for this job, is not immediately apparent.
This is where the main plot of the story lies. The issue, however, kicks off elsewhere, with a grippingly eerie sequence in a dreary town. Torres portrays this in faded brown tones, letting us know right away, that history, in one way or another, may play an important role in this story. This is also where Bunn and Torres give us a short glimpse at the sort of supernatural horror we’re in store for: a good ol’ fashioned ghost story. Well, “ol’ fashioned” may be a bit of a misnomer because, by the time the book ends, you realize these are no ordinary ghosts. They aren’t just knocking things off shelves and occasionally slamming doors; they can hold a terrifying power.
Bunn pens this debut issue in such a way that it borders on the noir. We are kinda just dropped into Dan’s life and while we don’t really know much about any of these characters’ background or even where it takes place, we do know their current mission and goal. Normally I would take issue with this, but here it works nicely because small hints and careful dialogue choices left me speculating (rather than confused) about both their past and future, adding another layer of mystery. For a debut issue, that’s certainly not a bad thing.
Torres contributes a great deal to an off-kilter almost hallucinatory vibe with a combination of hard shadows and painterly colors. They are sometimes vivid and exaggerated, other times more subdued, but usually strikingly fitting. Utilizing basic panel shapes and arrangements, Torres leaves a lot of white borders on the page. Allied with this type of story, it makes surprise reveals all that more effective. It lures you into a false sense of security with just how cleanly everything is laid out.
Another thing I would like to specifically highlight about this comic is an interesting extra that the creators are including. With every issue of Cold Spots, given you have a QR Code scanner on your phone or even just an internet browser in your immediate vicinity, you will be able to download an accompanying mp3–one that is meant to act as a background track, effectively increasing immersion to the story. I think this is a genius idea, Especially for the horror genre, where the atmosphere is of the utmost importance.
Verdict: Buy it!
Hooking you in its opening moments with a supernatural touch, Cold Spots #1 places a mystery seemingly full of character complexities ready to be unpacked at its icy center. While this issue, in particular, may not provide the character depth you’re looking for, there is certainly enough confidence and nuance here to suggest that Bunn and Torres plan to unveil these moments with each coming issue.
Available in stores August 22, 2018.