'Gravetrancers' a hallucinogenic (and inspired) jaunt through the macabre

‘Gravetrancers’ a hallucinogenic (and inspired) jaunt through the macabre

Are you looking forward to a new comic book but it’s impossible for you to wait for its release? We totally get it. That’s why there’s DoomRocket’s Advanced Reviews — now we assess books you can’t even buy yet.

Cover to 'Gravetrancers' #1. Art by James Michael Whynot and Dee Cunniffe/Black Mask

Cover to ‘Gravetrancers’ #1. Art by James Michael Whynot and Dee Cunniffe/Black Mask

By Brendan Hodgdon. The greatest and worst feeling you can have when you hear the premise of a new story is “Damn I wish I had thought of that!” But once you get past the initial envy that another writer concocted such an awesome idea, you’re left with the excitement that you get to experience that idea as a reader, and the hope that it will live up to its own potential. In the case of Gravetrancers, we not only have such an idea, but one that absolutely delivers.

M.L. Miller’s story follows two siblings, Maribel and Anthony, as they journey to a distant cemetery to visit the recently-discovered resting place of their long-lost father. Miller takes his time with his characters from the get-go; after a mysterious and unsettling cold open that hints at the heart of the story without over-exploring, he drops us into the siblings’ road trip and lets his characters breathe. We learn not only about their father issues, but their own personal demons that they’ve struggled with in the interim, and it’s this slow-burn character work that really lays the emotional foundation of the horror to come. Once the duo arrive at their funereal destination, the creeptastic action escalates quickly, throwing gonzo characters and events at us from every direction in a way that could feel scattershot but instead is wholly tied together by the emotional backdrop that Miller smartly established in the early going.

All of this is brought to vivid and icky life by the art team, and all three of them really knock this one out of the park. James Michael Whynot’s style is well-suited to the surreal and old-school spookiness of both the setting and the characters, while still allowing him to sell the emotions of Maribel and Anthony. And Dee Cunniffe’s colors really help set the mood, working beautifully in conjunction with Whynot’s inks.

Gravetrancers is for sure a great premise, and could’ve gotten by on that and style alone. But when you add in the depth and emotion that’s included here, you get a real winner of a book.

Black Mask Studios/$3.99

Written by M.L. Miller.

Art by James Michael Whynot.

Colors by Dee Cunniffe.

Letters by Jim Campbell.

8.5 out of 10

‘Gravetrancers’ #1 will hit stores on December 13.

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