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By Brandy Dykhuizen. Inspired by a relatively recent folklore phenomenon, Black Eyed Kids is a fantastically unnerving foray into one of horror’s favorite tropes – creepy children. These pint-sized portents of death have been darkening the doors of urban legend chat rooms and (allegedly) unsuspecting Midwestern homes for the past twenty years, and Joe Pruett and Szymon Kudranski bring them to a dark, chilling life in B.E.K.

By the end of this debut issue, you’ll still have no idea where these children came from, whether or not they’re actually human or even what motivates them. From our point of view, the violence seems rather senseless, though there are hints that it exists as a step towards a grander, more sinister plan. I can see how some readers could be turned off by the paucity of answers and explanations, and the slow, deliberate pace. Not me. I was pretty quickly sucked in by the children’s menacing presence, and even caught myself with goosebumps when my mind returned to it a day or so after my first read.

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The beauty of B.E.K. lies in what is absent. Neither Pruett nor Kudranski is interested in shedding light on the situation in the first issue – in fact, not a moment of this book takes place during the day. Characters wander through the snowy dark, active but not reactive. There is murder, there are societal implications (horrifying though they may be), there are terrifying transformations. For now, these eerie outsiders drive the plot, which serves to banish the reader to the margins, in the company of the civilians and police who are trying just as hard to wrap their minds around the children’s intentions. The meat and the measure of the story may not be for everyone. However, for those of us with overactive imaginations and a penchant for the macabre, Black Eyed Kids is an excellent, lingering read that offers chills that resonate for days.

Aftershock Comics/$1.99

Written by Joe Pruett.

Art by Szymon Kudranski.

Colors by Guy Major.

Letters by Marshall Dillon.

7.5 out of 10

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