Underwinter #1

Writer & Artist: Ray Fawkes
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: Image

A review by Anelise Farris

Underwinter #1Underwinter #1 is the first in a new monthly horror series written and drawn by Ray Fawkes, with this issue being “Symphony,” part one. Underwinter #1 is about a quartet of classical musicians: Corben, Eleanor, Kendell, and Stephanie. These musicians are offered a job: for a payment of $10,000 each, the musicians will play for several hours straight at a billionaire’s party. If this seems too easy, itès because it is. Of course there’s a catch, or, in this case, several. The musicians must play a pre-selected arrangement; must not take breaks; must wear what the host selects and be blindfolded. Oh, and if that was not enough, it is also rumored that this is a sex party.

Underwinter #1 itself is like a haunting melody: ethereal yet forceful, slowly sneaking under your skin. This is smart, sophisticated horror. At this point, not a lot has been revealed, and perhaps not a lot will be: this is minimalist and abstract at its best. There are just a few concrete details offered here and there to keep readers grounded: Corben has nightmares, Kendell is a playboy, Stephanie is the worrier, and Eleanor is the organized one. Beyond this, the readers are left up to their imaginations—and this is precisely what makes it so horrific. What will be done at this party? Why all the rules? Who will survive?

The writing is lyrical and poetic, and the introduction (prelude?) is filled with music terminology, like col legno, jete, and bariolage. The text balloons and lettering imbue the issue with a collage-like effect. The art pairs beautifully with the text: indefinite and surreal with a fantastic use of watercolor. This is a comic about sex, violence, and music, and it is executed with an unexpected elegance.

The Verdict
Buy it! Underwinter #1 
is a graceful and gorgeous horror comic about a talented quartet that is not to be missed.

Anelise Farris
farranel@isu.edu
I'm a doctor that specializes in folklore and mythology, speculative fiction, and disability studies. Basically, I'm a professional geek. When not researching or teaching, I read; I write; I yoga; I travel; I play with my fur babies; and, I watch way too many (if that's a thing) horror movies.

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