Silent Hill: Past Life #1


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Silent Hill: Past Life #1


  • Words: Tom Waltz
  • Art: Menton 3, Riley Rossmo
  • Colors: Menton 3, Riley Rossmo
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Oct 27, 2010

I was originally attracted to this title for two reasons: my fascination with the horror and dark fantasy genres and my past inquiries into whether or not video games can be legitimately considered art. I don’t know what I hoped to divulge from the first issue of Silent Hill: Past Life in respect to these dual motivations, but whatever it was—if anything—nothing of any great importance was found.

No, Past Life isn’t a bad comic, but its purpose is a bit of a mystery. It’s been well-known for years that the Silent Hill video game series is probably the most successful horror title out there in the medium, rivaled only by the Resident Evil franchise. But I am no expert or scholar of all things video games; sure there are some that I like, even a few that I love (I’m looking at you, Diablo), but it ends there. I’m just not good at them; they send my blood pressure into a tailspin every time I try to challenge myself. 

The IDW website shows that the publisher is in the business of printing a lot of Silent Hill books. I’m assuming they’re all somehow related to the games, if only generically. Does that mean that they’re only accessible to players who have explored the haunted town from the comfort of their own homes? I doubt it: I didn’t have any issue following along with Past Life, though I am assuming there are Easter eggs planted here and there for those loyal to the source material.

The story of Past Life is simple enough: The year is 1867; Jebediah and Esther Foster are moving from their Dakota home to the quiet town of Silent Hill where Esther has inherited a farmhouse that looks a whole lot like the manor overlooking the Bates Motel. The book is filled with timely colloquialisms and spectral artwork and colors provided by artists Menton 3 and Riley Rossmo. It set the mood as perfectly as any horror comic I’ve read.

There’s nothing wrong with the script produced by writer Tom Waltz, but I was left wanting more. About halfway through the book, there’s a confusing flashback (at least, I think it’s a flashback) and a maddened woman mysteriously appears in the old farmhouse. For added effect, she’s blood-stained and carrying a knife that supposedly belongs to the Fosters.

While I’m curious about what will happen next, I won’t have a hard time containing my excitement. This is the dilemma of spin-offs—they’re spin-offs. A book like this will only ever be filler material for the original franchise.

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