When it came time to pick a comic book to review this week, I knew I wanted to touch on a genre I hadn’t done yet.
When it comes to movies, I love psychological thrillers. The whole ‘slasher’ movie concept never really appealed to me.
I’ve just started to realise is that horror comics are pretty much all psychological thrillers. Obviously ‘jump scares’ don’t work in the written format, so instead of watching a girl get murdered in a shower or a couple in bed (who are obviously not virgins) get sliced to bits, comics allow for the horror of the mind. The questioning of morals, right and wrong, real or fake, true or false can be extremely frightening.
Colder is a story of the insane.
When I picked the Horror genre and was looking for a good book, I couldn’t take my eyes off of the Colder cover. It genuinely is frightening. The more you look at it, the more disturbing it gets. It was then that I made the quick decision that this would be the horror comic for me.
What is the premise? Declan Thomas is a man with a temperature so cold that he should be dead. He has the fascinating ability to cure people of insanity. The irony is thus far the only insanity he can’t cure is his own. For five years he has been living with Reece Talbot, a nurse who volunteered for Declan to live with her so he can have constant care. For the last five years Declan has not said a word.
But now, to the surprise of Reece, he chooses to speak again. His reasons why is the premise of the story.
Insanity is such an interesting topic. What it is and how it affects people varies. Sure it’s a common trope when it comes to horror. If done right, it can lead to insight together with a large dose of the creeps and that’s what Colder pulls off.
The main antagonist is Nimble Jack. A spiritual being who hungers and prays on the insane. Where Declan cures insanity, Jack feeds on it. Often leaving a person worse for wears.
The appearance of Jack threw me off at first. He looks very much like recent iterations of the Joker. Right down to the thin body, long face and the evil grin. Even his personality is similar. Both have the ‘insanity is fun” bravado and both have their favourite victim. Joker’s is Batman and Jack’s is Declan.
It’s a horror comic, so expect some horrific imagery. Sadly nothing compares to the cover in pure shock and horror but there are a few moments where I said to myself “wow they are actually going there”.
Everything is drawn beautifully. We are shown the “Hungry World” which is pretty much the world we know seen through the eyes of the insane. The colours are bland, buildings are older and more mysterious. It contains some truly unusual monsters, from giant killer dogs to one eyed business men. The artist, Juan knows what he is doing and what he is doing is brilliant. Some of the monsters looked like something between a Guillermo Del Toro film and a hollow from the anime Bleach. Even as grotesque as some of it can get, I couldn’t help but marvel at the detail and ultra-realism shown.
Most of the horrors are on show when Nimble Jack takes center stage. He is the cause of the chaos and we get to his disturbed mind on show. As mentioned before, he loves to tease his food. Declan seems to be housing the biggest amount of insanity. Like a chef preparing a stew, Jack is willing to wait and make sure Declan’s insanity is at its most pure before he goes in for the meal.
One of my favourite aspects of this volume was the ‘romance’ between Declan and Reece… if you can call it a romance. Reece has always cared for Declan but has only ever perceived him as a gentle silent man in need of constant care. When Declan reveals he can actually speak and has comprehended everything over time, it creates a complexity in their relationship and purity often with its comedic moments lighting up the comic.
One last thing I want to mention, is how well paced this comic book is. It never felt like it was holding onto things so as to prolong the story, even just being volume one, it’s very self-contained.
If you’re wanting to delve into something a little bit more frightening than your normal comic book series then give this a go. I want to read more and I’m sure you will too.