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"Eden" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by AfterShock Comics

article-cover

Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Dalibor Talajic
Colored by Valentina Briski
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
2021, 52 Pages, $6.99
Comic released on May 5th, 2021

Review:

Niles has settled into a routine. He works as a tattoo artist during the day, goes to the same place to eat, then passes out in front of the TV at night. This is something he can control after losing his wife and son. That changes when Eden comes in. This beautiful woman doesn't want your typical tattoo. She wants something wholly original. It's a challenge and Niles rises to it. When she comes back in for another tattoo, with the first one mysteriously missing, it becomes clear there's more to Eden than meets the eye.

Eden is an oversized one-shot, what publisher AfterShock Comics calls a “One-Shock,” delivering a complete story in this single volume. Within the span of these 50ish pages, we get a full idea of Niles, his background, and the mystery around Eden, all with a satisfying conclusion.

The story builds slowly at first, like that initial climb on a roller coaster. We learn about the tragedy in Niles' past, not through exposition, but through what is implied. Artist Dalibor Talajic says quite a lot with some subtle imagery, such as a photo of a woman and child kept close to Niles' workspace, conveniently next to a human skull, or the look of sorrow in the man's eyes as he goes through the motions of the day, basically on auto-pilot.

Click images to enlarge

This changes when Eden walks into the shop. Colorist Valentina Briski shifts the palette from dreary browns and yellows to bright reds and oranges. It's like a ray of sunshine has come down upon Niles. It catches him entirely offguard. Briski's work really shines in Eden's tattoos. They're filled with bursts of color, really showcasing Niles' talent and the passion he still has within.

While this romance certainly plays a part in Eden, this is a horror comic first and foremost. All this setup serves to get us invested with Niles and the heartbreak he's been through so far. It's what makes what follows all the more harrowing. Writer Cullen Bunn grabs our attention first with the strange nature of this woman's disappearing tattoos. We just have to know what's up with them and so does Niles.

Then, everything comes together in this crescendo of a closer as you realize how Niles' desperation meets this frightening supernatural idea. By that point, there's no turning back. This is happening and you're in it 100 percent. You can do nothing but continue to flip through each page as we lean harder and harder into the skid, leading to a glorious and terrifying closer.

Click images to enlarge

Letterer Marshall Dillon adds quite a lot to these final pages with some gut-wrenching sound effects. They're scrawled across the page to really drive home the agony on display. There's also a good amount of variety to them, bringing to mind all kinds of unsettling sounds as the final act is underway in some pitch perfect body horror.

Eden is a fascinating and tragic story about loss. It mixes horror and romance in this beautiful and disturbing way. Although intentions are pure, the actions are horrifying. This makes for a great combination.

Grades:

Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Cover
Buy from Amazon UK.
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Tfaw Buy Button
Art: fourstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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