Freak Show #1 from comics company Behemoth is just what it says on the title, a freak show of a comic, but it is positively strange and not negatively eerie. Written by the team of Kevin Roditeli and Rob Cannon (who also did the art and lettering), Freak Show #1 opens with an awesome quote:
The worlds frozen
Nobody knows why
Science and Culture have been forgotten
Only monsters and freaks survive on the ice
Some human, some beast
Some a thing in between
Well, if you have just finished reading the words above, you’ll realize that you are in for one hell of a rollercoaster ride. The writers deliver in the initial 1-5 pages with blood, gore and overall heart-pumping action. The environment is reminiscent of John Carpenter’s The Thing, albeit, with a much faster build-up.
What strikes you first after the intro words is the uncanny art work. It’s like something I have never seen before. I think it is what is known as the painted art work style as it reminded me of Alex Ross’s illustrative designs featured in DC Comics’ 1996 Kingdom Come miniseries – regarded by critics and fans alike as one of the best stories ever published by DC – and one of my own personal all-time favorite storylines, mainly due to the art work.
Again, I must have hundreds of comics as by the time that I am penning down this review, but I have never seen anything like the interior of Freak Show #1. Therein, also lies the problem with this art style, what is unique to some might come across as mind-boggling to others. So, readers might have a love/hate relationship with the art style, thus, rendering the design as a double-edged sword.
When the intro mentioned some a thing in between, I did not expect to see such uniqueness on display here. The storytelling is also quite original alternating between a diverse set of genres and also different yet uncanny art styles, and you can discern that this is one series which is going to be very unpredictable as it progresses. The second art style reminded me of 80s comic books because it was just so retro. I really liked the comedy aspect of the second half of the comic book as it really shines a new light on the already mysterious plot. Also, the world frozen in snow plotline reminded me of the movie and TV series Snowpiercer just without the train.
One of the seemingly main characters, Berny, introduced in the second half is quite intriguing. He lives mostly in his own subconscious, kind of like being trapped in a fantasy world most of the time, where he imagines a beer can and a has-been robot cartoon character as his two best friends. This whole concept is quite interesting and there is a juxtaposition between the two parts of the story. The balance between action and comedy makes for one hell of a comic experience.
I also liked how the writers delved into Berny’s thoughts and this really strengthened the plot which simply started with a massive gunfight out on the snowy terrain. Looks like the writers know what they are doing, and if this is their debut work, then I can’t wait to see what they contribute to the indie comics industry when they become more experienced.
To end with, Freak Show #1 might not seem like such a blast on the first read, but if you go through it again, you’ll realize this is a masterpiece in the making. I can’t wait to find out what happens next – especially in regards to the well-constructed character, Berny.
Nisar Sufi started penning poetry when he was 9 years old, but found his true love in the horror genre after reading R.L. Stine's College Summer, when he was 14. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching the latest comic-book movie adaptations. He is also the co-founder of Literary Retreat - a website that publishes articles on all types of literature.