Just in time for Halloween, Image Comics has released the first issue of their newest horror series, Goners. Written by Jacob Semahn and drawn by Jorge Corona, the book is an interesting examination of a monster hunting family. However, the first issue might not do enough to set the series apart from similar stories.
After a cryptic opening page, the book immediately throws us into the Latimer’s most recent battle against monsters. While the parents and their team battle it out with a cult of vampires, their children Josiah and Zoe watch the story unfold on the local news. The existence of monsters is well known and there are protocols in place for these situations. When their mission takes a deadly turn, it becomes immediately clear that the entire Latimer family is in danger. A group of Bakaak, translucent zombies with glowing red eyes, attack the children at home. Fortunately, another hunter named Francis comes to their rescue and, along with the local police, moves the children to safety. Unfortunately, the supernatural forces won’t be giving up that easily.
Overall, the writing in the book is solid. There are a few moments in the dialogue that seem really strange (for example there’s mention of a hostage takeover rather than a hostile takeover) but the rhythm of the story is quick and enjoyable. One refreshing part of the book is the diversity of the supernatural creatures. The book doesn’t just focus on vampires or zombies, but several different creatures. The story doesn’t provide any sort of boundary for the supernatural forces, so I’m excited to see what strange and obscure monsters might make their way into the series.
The book doesn’t take any time to explain the world and, while I appreciate the decision by Semahn to throw the reader immediately into the action, it doesn’t completely work in this case. There are just too many characters and relationships at play. Without a little more exposition, the story starts to get lost amongst the action. I also found the overall story in this issue to be a bit lacking. There are a lot of hints throughout the book at a much bigger story and I found these to be incredibly enticing, but as far as the actual story presented in this issue it’s just a little too unclear for my taste.
Corona’s art is the high point of the book in my opinion. His style is well-suited to the world that they’re crafting, combining cartoonish character design with stylish environments. While that might not sound like the right approach for a horror book, the story has a lightness to it that the art exemplifies while never detracting from the gravity of the violence. The panel layouts of the book are unique and work incredibly well with the fast-paced story. Even if the story doesn’t grab you right away, the art is well worth the cover price.
Goners #1 is an interesting book. While the story contained in the first issue isn’t breaking any new ground, the hints of what’s to come for the series are persuasive enough to keep me reading the series. The art is exactly where it should be and I believe that the story can get there soon.