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"Mountainhead #2" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by IDW Publishing

Mountainhead 2 Large

Written by John Lees
Illustrated by Ryan Lee
Colored by Doug Garbark
Lettered by Shawn Lee
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on October 2nd, 2019

Review:

Abraham is getting settled in his new/old home of Braeriach. His biological family is happy to have him back after he was kidnapped years ago, but he's still not sure of this place or these people. Everyone in town is just a bit too cheerful. Plus, there are some weird things going around, like finding a pile of warm meat on the sidewalk in the middle of town or the crazy old lady who just attacked him.

There's an inescapable feeling of dread throughout every page of Mountainhead. If experienced separately, all of the strangeness might be dismissed, but together, it makes for an unsettling read. Abraham seems to be the only one clued into this, but we have to wonder if this is real given his adopted father's mental state and the conspiracy-laden ideas he passed on.

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A great example of this comes early on where artist Ryan Lee focuses in on a door in the kitchen. Again, under normal circumstances, you wouldn't think anything of it. It's something in the background you wouldn't have noticed if it didn't become the focal point of a few panels. Ryan Lee creates a series of shrinking panels that focus in on it, running behind a dazed Abraham and suddenly I'm terrified by what could be lurking behind it. It's probably just breakfast cereal and beans, but now I'm convinced it's a monster or a portal to another dimension.

The truth is revealed a little later and it's far more heartbreaking. Ryan Lee's artwork packs a punch and this shot hits like a haymaker. Many of the shots in Mountainhead #2 create a disorienting feeling that adds to the overall disturbing nature of the comic. We'll see super close-ups of a man's hairy hand and arm or a bloodshot eye peeking out from the shadows that will creep you right out.

Colorist Doug Garbark adds a grit to Mountainhead. This town is lived in and worn down. Despite the happy nature of some of its residents, the sun doesn't shine as brightly as it could. The snow is faded and dingy. It's like the mountains in the distance cast this eerie haze over the entire place. This plays into some of the panel layouts which often take the shape of triangles, showing how the mountains are a constant, foreboding presence.

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And the smiles! They have never been creepier. Ryan Lee focuses in on these, so even a perfect grin has a menacing quality to it. They contrast with the inhuman looks in the eyes to make an unnatural expression. Letterer Shawn Lee adds to the overall disturbing nature of Mountainhead with some occasional wavy fonts, like people are speaking in a lilting style that reminds me of circus clowns.

Mountainhead is chock full of unsettling terror. It's a gripping read that's one part Stephen King, one part David Lynch. You'd think the appearance of a young boy thought dead for years would be the weirdest thing to happen in this town, but you'd be wrong.

Grades:

Story: Fivestars Mountainhead 2 Small
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Mountainhead 2 Small
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: Fivestars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
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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