Review: MANOR BLACK #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt
Artist and Colors: Tyler Crook
Reviewed by: Tony Farina
Manor Black starts with a bang. There is an injured woman called Ari who is in dire straights. Her friends are driving frantically to get…somewhere. There is a ritual that needs to be done. There is a man in the road. The driver…Well, You need to read it to find out.
Cut to an old mansion where a young boy called Basil is trying to help his father Roman pack for something. Roman, who could easily be mistaken for Basil’s great-grand father needs some time alone. He wanders to a hidden room behind a locked gate to find a giant hourglass. That makes perfect sense right? Well, what happens next is a bit too spoilery but let’s say, you will be compelled to keep reading. We also meet some of Roman’s other kids. They are older. That makes a lot of sense.
We meet some other crazy characters and honestly, it is best to read the book. The more I explain, the more mad you will be that I told you and that you didn’t get to see it on your own.
Manor Black from Dark Horse is clearly set in the real world, but readers instantly understand that the real world is all a scam. Writers Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt create a creepy world with magic and mayhem. They draw the readers in from panel one of page one.
Manor Black has a break out star and that is artist and colorist Tyler Crook. Seriously. Every panel of this book has layers to it. Some panels look like full blown works of water color art while others look like perfectly drawn, old timey horror comics. It is vibrant when it should be and dark when it should be. Even when nothing is happening on the page, Crook makes it feel like things are moving.
There seem to be a lot of characters who are not going to make it through the end of the book. While that is fine, I don’t know if we need to spend as much time with them as we do if they are not going to be around. I didn’t get to know them enough to care that they die, but I got to know them enough to want to know them more. I just feel cheated. Then, there are others who seem intriguing, but with whom we spend almost no time. It is only issue one, so it is a small nit to pick in what is an excellent first start.
While the story does bounce back and forth between characters, the plot is linear. Nothing is a flash back and nothing seems wasted. This is an efficient and interesting first book. That last page is spectacular and should be enough to keep readers coming back for more.