Cannibal Volume 1
Writers: Brian Buccellato and Jennifer Young
Artist: Matías Bergara
A review by Anelise Farris
Cannibal Volume 1 collects issues #1-4 of the southern horror series centered around the Hansen family. The story is set in Florida, sometime after a hurricane unearthed a scourge of virus carrying mosquitoes. Those that are bitten by the mosquitoes become infected with a disease that causes them to hunger after human flesh. The major divisive question then becomes what to do with all of the infected: to kill or not to kill.
The team behind Cannibal do a fantastic job of anchoring the story in this Florida town; this is achieved through the dialect reflected in the speech balloons; the multi-dimensional yet typical Florida small-town characters; and, the use of color and line-work. Throughout the issues the art vacillates from light and cartoonish to dark and gritty, reflecting the “expect the unexpected” vibe of the whole series. The person you are talking to could be a cannibal, or they might not be—thus effectively keeping readers in suspense.
There are two other aspects of Cannibal that make it stand out among a host of other outbreak stories. First, the writers of Cannibal chose to drop readers right in the middle of the action, rather than devoting the first issue to backstory or the pre-virus world. They provide just enough information for readers as the issues progress, while still leaving a lot of intriguing uncertainty. And, second, what is terrifying about this comic is that the cannibals look like “normal” human beings, and they are totally self-aware—which makes it unnerving for everyone.
By keeping the story rooted in this one town, it is impossible not to become invested in the life of the Hansen family, and this is an element that I found refreshing about this comic, in comparison to other “outbreak” narratives. Initially I was concerned that I would get bored of the Hansen family and want to leave this Florida town to find out how the virus is affecting the rest of the world, but with each issue, and what seems to be a new missing person, I became fully committed to this one town. Will Cash find Jolene? Will she say yes? Is little Boone going to be okay? These are just some of the questions that weighed heavy on my mind as I was reading the series, and the way Cannibal Volume 1 ends—with both an answer to one question and the beginning of another—has me hungering (forgive the pun) for what’s to come.
Buy it! Tired of a whole lot of outbreak narratives that don’t seem to be doing anything different? Look no further! Cannibal Volume 1, both visually and textually, offers a unique twist to the human-eat-human genre.