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"Ravencroft #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics


Written by Frank Tieri
Illustrated by Angel Unzueta
Colored by Rachelle Rosenberg & Dono Sanchez-Almara
Lettered by Joe Sabino
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 29th, 2020


After literally exploding during the events of Absolute Carnage, Ravencroft, the institute for the criminally insane has re-opened under new leadership with new staff. Plus, they found a creepy journal from the founder of this place, Jonas Ravencroft, which shed light on the horrors that have followed this land for generations. (Check out the Ravencroft one-shots leading up to this new mini-series).

With that history established, I'm eager to see how this new version of the institute makes its mark on the Marvel Universe. Writer Frank Tieri casts an interesting clash of personalities with Misty Knight working as a spy of sorts, keeping one eye on Mayor Wilson Fisk's interest in this while also looking out for friend and partner, John Jameson (aka Man-Wolf). Also, Norman Osborn is employed there even though he was just murdering people by ripping out their spines and eating them like two weeks ago.

Click images to enlarge

Can we talk for a moment about how ridiculously connected Norman Osborn is? The guy is a known super villain and continuously fails upward. He gets defeated over and over again, outed as a maniacal bad guy and yet he's put into a position of power with a clean slate. Not to get too political, but I will take a second to point out that the Marvel Universe is supposed to be our world and I guess it's not too hard to believe that a billionaire could buy his way out of trouble.

Anyway, there's an eerie vibe to Ravencroft that's amplified by the sterile environment of this new building. It's a little too clean with an almost futuristic vibe to it and the insides don't match the gothic exterior. This debut issue works to establish all the terrors that are lurking within and there are quite a lot of them. Yes, there's Fisk and Osborn who are out front and in the open, but there are also the prisoners getting some form of rehabilitation. In addition, there is a horde of monsters living underneath the facility planning some kind of attack.

Tieri adds some great gags throughout Ravencroft #1 to bring some comic relief to this foreboding setting. While we're dealing with some dark stuff, it's nice to be reminded every so often that this is some crazy, out-of-the-ordinary stuff we're dealing with.

Click images to enlarge

Colorists Rachelle Rosenberg & Dono Sanchez-Almara create a nice contrast between these two environments. The cells are brightly lit and clean, shown by the harsh light of fluorescents. Compare this to the dingy caves beneath Ravencroft full of shadows and dread. Somehow the former is scarier than the latter.

Artist Angel Unzueta really excels with those monsters so it's a shame we only see them very briefly in Ravencroft #1. I'm eager to see more from them. The human characters are a little too muscular. I know that sounds weird since this is a Marvel book filled with heroes and villains. What I mean by that is that the muscles come through clothes, like they're so form-fitting that one small move will burst suits at the seams. Since we're looking at street clothes, this is a little weird.

There's a big reveal at the end of this issue that really ups the level of terror in Ravencroft. I was already on board with this series, but that closing page solidified my feelings for this title. I love how letterer Joe Sabino drops the captions here, juxtaposing Knight's thoughts with the actions of the scene for the most impact. There's a tremendous amount of potential here. Of course, that potential is full of evil and horror, but that's the best kind, right?


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


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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