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Autumnal 4 Main

"The Autumnal #4" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Vault Comics

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Written by Daniel Kraus
Illustrated by Chris Shehan
Colored by Jason Wordie
Lettered by Jim Campbell
2021, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 13th, 2021

Review:

Every small town has secrets. Comfort Notch has more than most. As Kat spends more time in her hometown, she uncovers a shocking tragedy that shook this place to its core, yet no one wants to talk about it. There's something dark lurking nearby and everyone is afraid of it. Maybe that's why they're always raking the leaves...

The Autumnal has been a bit of a slow burn, hitting with some super creepy tones. This issue is where a lot of the mystery is cleared up, as we learn just what the hell is going on in Comfort Notch. Writer Daniel Kraus hits us with a lot of exposition and backstory. Under other circumstances this could have come across as dry or boring, but this is anything but.

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Kat starts to piece together this story, first from old newspapers in the library that are hastily taken from her once folks realize what she's doing. Then she manages to track down someone that was at the roller rink, the site of a tragic fire that took the lives of several kids. This flows like a detective tale and it works well.

I absolutely love how artist Chris Shehan transitions from the present to the past and back again. It happens in a cloud of smoke that swirls around the characters as we move into the flashback. Shehan adjusts his style a bit for these sequences, going for a rougher look, akin to how one might recall a memory.

Colorist Jason Wordie shades these scenes in darker tones, a nice contrast to the Comfort Notch of the modern day filled with the colors of Fall. The colors are applied in hasty lines too, as if a child quickly colored them in without a care for the lines. This is perfect for the vibe of this story, not to mention the more violent parts that explode in a burst of blood red, flying out of the panels.

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Letterer Jim Campbell shows the narrator's words in rough caption boxes. They're not straight lines. Instead, they look drawn by hand, which adds to the uneasy tone of this tale.

The Autumnal hits with small-town horror in a big way. It shows how dark and tragic life out in the boonies can be and the lengths locals will go to protect this way of life, even with its heartbreak. Despite being born here, Kat is an outsider, so she sees this place for what is really is. That will undoubtedly put her in danger. It's clear we're just getting warmed up in this series and the scares are only getting bigger.

Grades:

Story: fourstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
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Buy from Amazon UK.
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Art: fourandahalfstars
Overall: 4 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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