House Amok #1
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Art: Shawn McManus
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
House Amok introduces us to the Sandifer family, who is just like any other family on a road trip. They fight, they visit roadside attractions, and… they are on a murdering spree to keep themselves safe from the evil Reality Adjusters. Dylan Sandifer, a 10-year-old twin, is starting to realize that she might be the odd one out in her family, but what is more dangerous: going along with the family delusion or get out?
Chris Sebela, who is responsible for other titles like Shanghai Red and Crowded (check out our Comics Agenda podcast interview with the Crowded team!) likes to open his number one issues with a bang, and the first issue of House Amok is no different. We start out with a typical child shoplifting scene, but the situation quickly devolves into craziness and gore. As the comic goes on, the ride along with the Sandifer family only gets weirder, bloodier, and that much more fun.
Reading through the comic, I got vibes that reminded me of the movie Captain Fantastic: A weird yet tightknit homeschooling family (I promise we’re not all that weird!) that’s on a journey with a mission. The added benefit to House Amok is the psychological and supernatural horror aspects that fit right in with the story. The family feels relatable and all-too familiar aside from the trail of bodies they leave in their wake.
The other enjoyable aspect of this book is that you honestly have no idea what’s going on at this point. We’re presented with strange and haunting visions that the family is seeing, but based on Dylan’s revelations, you’re not sure what’s real and what’s Mandela-effect fiction. Because of all these mysteries, you have no choice but to continue on with this series.
As for the artwork, it really matches the tone of the story. A lot of the time I was reminded of Coraline in that it presents quirky characters in a horror setting that all blends together so well. The Slipper Men, grasping trees, and possessed carousels the family encounters will haunt your dreams if you read this too close to bed time. And the nearly-monotonous shading employed throughout the book’s pages gives it the kind of eerie vibe you might get driving in a remote forest as a thick fog is setting in.
Verdict: Buy it.
House Amok promises to be a twisted and enjoyable ride. The family dynamic puts the reader right into the story, and all of the mysteries presented will have you questioning reality yourself.