Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander’s work on their Image Comics series Killadelphia earned them Eisner nominations and a tv adaptation, which is currently in development. Now the creators are expanding the Killadelphia universe with a terrifying new series, Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog. Written by Barnes and with artwork by Alexander and Patric Reynolds, its debut issue is unnerving and an excellent start to a series.
Nita Hawes, the former lover of Killadelphia‘s Jimmy Sangster, is a teacher in Baltimore who sees demons and ghosts all over the city. Most prominent among these specters is her little brother Jason, who died tragically young. Jason warns Nita that Baltimore is in danger of being taken over by demons. As she grapples with her grief and a potential horde of monsters, Detectives Brady and Harden investigate a grisly murder, and a nurse at a rest home begins to suspect that one of his patients is possessed.
Barnes effortlessly bounces between multiple characters and plotlines to present readers with a truly frightening portrait of Baltimore. By showing the audience just how dangerous these demons can be, he hints at the threat Nita is up against. The colossal scale of Baltimore’s demon problem is contrasted brilliantly with Nita’s personal problems. She is still struggling with the death of her parents and her brother and questioning her grasp on reality as she spends her nights talking with her brother’s ghost. Her rich, complicated inner life proves that this series can stand on its own. Barnes has written an incredible character to make Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog its own fascinating story, rather than just a companion piece to Killadelphia.
Alexander and Reynolds’ art delivers all of the horror and gore that the story’s premise promises. Their demons are grotesque Lovecraftian figures that readers won’t soon forget, which become even more haunting when compared with the tragic and harmless image of Jason’s ghost. Throughout Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog #1, the artists demonstrate their talent for producing remarkably emotive, utterly human moments alongside horrific, otherworldly violence. Their depictions of people’s reactions to the terror are as effective as the terrifying events. Colorist Luis NCT adds a haunting glow to Alexander and Reynolds’ work. An eerie blue and red light creates all sorts of unsettling shadows on the streets of Baltimore. Even when things seem fairly calm, the colors create an ominous atmosphere that helps to reinforce a sense of impending doom.
The end of Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog #1 brings its multiple storylines together with a sense of hope to the otherwise dreadful situation. This first issue functions as both a disturbing ghost story and a compelling mystery. Killadelphia readers are sure to be delighted by this extension of the universe. The creative team has done an excellent job of making this a book that can stand on its own. Beautiful art and a delightfully frightening plot make this first issue an impressive and exciting comic.
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