Overview

Children Of The Grave #1

Review

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Children Of The Grave #1

Credits

  • Words: Tom Waltz
  • Art: Casey Maloney
  • Inks: N/A
  • Colors: N/A
  • Story Title: Nightmares
  • Publisher: Shooting Star Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Feb 16, 2005

Team Orphan was sent to the find thousands of graves of slaughtered children. They found the graves but they were empty. Where are the children now?

Children of the Grave is a new horror/action miniseries from independent publisher Shooting Star Comics. Written by Tom Waltz and illustrated by Casey Maloney, this comic tells a good and solid horror story by integrating it into a military action piece. The main characters are three soldiers working for the Program, a shady and secretive organization. They were recruited based solely on their ability to kill and their complete separation from any home or any life other than the Program. They are three orphans on the trail of a mass murderer.

The story is set in a fictional country somewhere in the Middle East. We are given a quick rundown of the country’s six year civil war followed by a fragile peace accord. One government colonel goes rogue in disgust and begins waging a personal war against the country’s ethnic minority. His latest atrocity is the murder of thousands of children and their burial in the desert. It is these children that Team Orphan have been sent to find, yet they only find empty graves. As Team Orphan receives new orders to assassinate the rogue colonel, they are stricken by haunting dreams. It appears that the battle lines may now be drawn not between factions of the living but between the living and the dead…

Tom Waltz’s script is very smooth and he ably puts a fair amount of story onto the page for this first issue. He builds the tension slowly, but not at a snail's pace that one feels bored or restless at the issue’s completion. This appears to have been helped by the addition of a strong military/action plot. We are driven forward by the plot, while being consistently spooked by the horror-story aspects. There are some passages of dialogue that are a little clunky such as the Latino slang and the Arab conversations which simply drip with cliché. Having said this, there is a lot of really good exposition, such as a description that a character had recorded 40 official kills with the marines before he was old enough to buy a beer.

One major draw card for this book is the simple but effective artwork of Casey Maloney. There is a strong central style that maintains the book’s pace and focus. The characters’ faces are clear and unique and they express attitudes and feelings with ease. The black and white artwork is suitably creepy during the nightmare scenes but also gives the military scenes a nice amount of technical intricacy.

This is well worth picking up for only $3 as it also comes with a short prose story. Children of the Grave is a sure bet for those seeking a little bit of horror as well as a strong plot. 

- Matthew Clark

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