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"Unearth #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Image Comics


Written by Cullen Bunn and Kyle Strahm
Illustrated by Baldemar Rivas
Lettered by Crank!
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 10th, 2019


No good things can come from a phrase like “flesh-warping disease.” That's where Unearth starts, so just imagine where it goes next. The new series has a group of scientists investigating the source of a contamination in a small village in Mexico. It's there they find people suffering from a disease that twists and deforms their bodies. You know the end of Akira, where Tetsuo is growing like a fast-moving tumor? It's like that, but way more painful.

Unearth quickly establishes how creepy and unsettling this sickness is. The opening pages feature a small boy emptying a bucket into a big metal drum outside of a hospital. The ward casts an eerie red glow, like it's flashing a warning to anyone nearby that death and suffering lurk within. The boy leads the scientists inside to reveal the first group of patients and all of them look miserable. It isn't until they go deeper that you see what this disease is capable of.

Click images to enlarge

It's at about this point, four pages into Unearth #1, that I first wanted to throw up. That feeling returns as the issue continues. Artist Baldemar Rivas has created some of the most disturbing body horror I've ever seen. The human body is not meant to bend in these directions or stretch in this fashion. What's lying on the beds in this hospital might have once been people, but they're strange lumps of flesh and pain now.

Again, this is where Unearth begins. The investigation is just getting started. Writers Cullen Bunn and Kyle Strahm take us far deeper, both literally and figuratively, into this story as we look into the potential origins of this disease. The following scenes create a vibe similar to a good version of Prometheus, where this team descends into a large and terrifying cave. We don't know what's waiting for them down there, but it's safe to say it's not good.

This heightens the tension as the issue continues. After setting such a high bar with the first few pages, Unearth keeps you on edge, as new terrors could be lurking behind every page turn. There are occasional moments of awe as the discoveries begin to ramp up, but those are very brief and not without an uneasy feeling of dread. Sure, that little creature might look fascinating, but it just might tear your face off.

Click images to enlarge

Letterer Crank gives us an idea of the true effects of one of these monsters as someone is attacked. This poor man's voice goes from a big scream to a muffled mumble as his life ends. It's a chilling sequence.

You will want to clean your hands immediately after reading Unearth. It's an awesome mix of pandemic horror with otherworldly monsters. It's like Outbreak meets Aliens. We're only one issue in and I'm already terrified.


Story: fivestars Cover
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Art: fivestars
Overall: 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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