Cold Spots #2
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Mark Torres
Letter: Simon Bowland
Review by Frank Lanza
If there can be an analog for Stephen King in comics, Cullen Bunn is surely it. Sure, Scott Snyder writes some creepy yarns and Joe Hill is the defacto King in comics, but if you base it on raw proliferation and pure love for horror, Bunn takes the cake. He’s written so much great horror in the past few years that I can’t even keep up with it all. Being my favorite genre, that’s saying a lot. Well, let’s see what Bunn has cranked out here with Cold Spots #2.
Cold Spots #2 continues the tale of Dan Kerr and his task to discover where a missing woman and her daughter have disappeared to. We still don’t know much about Mr. Kerr; he’s a tough nut to crack and seems to be content remaining shrouded in his own mystery for the time being. Picking up from the end of last issue where the hotel clerk was frozen solid by a ghastly presence, Dan is interrogated by the local sheriff until they find yet another victim has fallen to the same fate elsewhere. They release Dan to a pretty creepy boat-for-hire captain who finally ferries him to Quarrels Island to continue his search.
Once he arrives, he’s accosted by yet another creepy character who attempts to turn him away from his search until Dan reveals that he’s on Quarrels Island seeking his own daughter. This is quite the revelation and gains him entrance to the island residence. There we meet the lady of the house, Henrietta Quarrels and quickly learn that yes, in fact, his daughter Grace and her mother Alyssa are here on the island. Alyssa explains that Dan can’t bring Grace back to her grandfather, she’s found friends on the island. As the end of the issue reveals, they aren’t the imaginary or friendly kind and are probably the source of the unnatural cold and death occurring on the island.
We’re only two issues in here, so I have to assume Bunn is just warming up (no pun intended) this Cold Spots story. That said, I’m not entirely sure if we have a horror tale unfolding here, a mystery, an old school ghost story or all three. He’s working the creep factor pretty hard with the local townies and the murderous specters, but there’s not much here that is actually scary yet. He’s writing Dan as a tough as nails guy and the ultimate cynic, so he’s not terribly likable thus far either. I’m not entirely sure if he’s also able to see these ghosts, if they follow him or if both he and his daughter share a connection to the supernatural. I’m hoping we find out more about this in the next few issues.
So far Mark Torres’ work has been hit or miss for me. I was floored by the beginning of issue #1; his line work and colors evoked some of the tone of Eric Powell’s Hillbilly with the subtle washes and simple and direct storytelling. The beginning of Cold Spots #2 was not as impressive; the line work was very uneven and appeared rushed until about halfway through the issue. His work evened out when Dan arrived on Quarrels Island and the colors kicked up the drama several notches. I’m still pleased and enjoying his work overall, but I hope he can maintain the consistency throughout the remaining issues.
Verdict: Wait and See.
Cold Spots #2 is another series that seems like it’s off to a solid but slow start. I think the story Bunn is telling here is going to hit its stride in the next issue or two, but at this point I think it’s going to be a better experience consumed all in one sitting. Besides, easy jump scares are cheap in the horror biz and Bunn knows his game well; he’s building up for the long game. I’m fine waiting a few issues to see how it all turns out.