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"The Shadow Over Innsmouth – Part One" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Blue Fox Comics

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Originally written by H.P. Lovecraft
Adapted by Simon Birks
Illustrated by RHStewart
Lettered by Lyndon White
2021, 28 Pages

Review:

Robert Ormstead just wants to get to Arkham from Newburyport, but he lacks the cash for a direct route. This puts him through Innsmouth. Despite the warnings from the locals, he goes exploring and finds some unsettling horrors lurking in the shadows. His trip is about to be derailed.

Despite reading tons of stuff inspired by the guy, I have yet to read anything actually written by H.P. Lovecraft. I'll understand if you want to stop reading now and leave. Still here? Cool. Anyway, I get the general vibe from his stories. This adaptation of The Shadow Over Innsmouth is a nice example of that. It's moody and atmospheric from the jump.

Much of this comes down to RHStewart's artwork. It's full of shadows, even in the middle of the day. It has a strange tone it, especially when Ormstead gets to Innsmouth. It's like the people here don't talk. They avoid any outside contact, even with each other, but particularly with unfamiliar faces.

Speaking of unfamiliar faces, there are some straight up lizard people in this book and no one else seems to bat an eye. The bus driver looks like Killer Croc's cousin with scaly skin and sharp teeth and Ormstead just hands the dude his fare like it's nothing.

The difference between Newburyport and Innsmouth is staggering. It's like Ormstead has entered a different world. There's one shot that I absolutely love, where the bus is almost to its destination and it crosses a bridge. There is an archway on either side and the way RHStewart frames it, it looks like a monster's mouth is swallowing the bus up. It's a very haunting shot that works to symbolize the horrors that await this man.

While the imagery is top notch, The Shadow Over Innsmouth could have used a bit more dialogue to move the story along. I rarely say something like this, but at times it plays like a travel brochure for the creepy spots in Massachusetts with panel after panel of oddities in these small towns. The tone is perfect, however the story doesn't feel like it goes all that far. You can sum it up in a single sentence. Ormstead goes to Innsmouth and sees the sights.

Letterer Lyndon White handles what little dialogue there is, however where his work really shines is with the sound effects. Shortly after entering Innsmouth, a loud bell chimes over and over. The sound covers the entire town and feels almost claustrophobic.

The Shadow Over Innsmouth is an unsettling horror comic. The scares are quiet, creeping up on you slowly, which creates a lingering terror. There's not a whole lot to chew on just yet, but this is planned for two more chapters, so I'm sure writer Simon Birks will flesh this out a bit more.

Grades:

Story: threestars Cover
Art: fourstars
Overall: 3.5 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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