COLD SPOTS by Cullen Bunn & Mark Torres with lettering by Simon Bowland
“A tale of spine-tingling horror, psychological fright, the undead, and the bitter cold of a supernatural winter come together in this account of unexpected twists and mounting dread. Dan Kerr turned his back on his wife and unborn daughter 10 years ago. Now, both mother and child have gone missing, and Dan must embark on a weird tale of cosmic terror in order to find them again! Ghosts stir when Dan’s estranged daughter is near, and as the dead grow restless, the cold deepens.
Collects COLD SPOTS #1 – 5” -From Goodreads
A copy of Volume 1 of Cold Spots was provided by Image Comics for this review.
Horror is one of my personal favorite genres. Horror comics up the ante for me by codifying the monster in the dark and making it more concrete than in a prose novel. Sometimes what you imagine can be scarier than what the author/artist intended, but sometimes it’s nice to turn the page and have a monster stare back at you. In Cold Spots issue #1 had goosebumps by page 6. Unfortunately, the scares were a bit one note after that.
The trade paperback follows the story of main character, Dan Kerr, through the first 5 issues of his harrowing tale of thrills and (literal) chills. He is tasked with finding his estranged wife and daughter after they disappear. What he finds is a small town full of secrets, mysterious deaths, and a creepy family that seems intent on making Dan’s life difficult. The plot is fairly linear, and the story as a whole is more focused on visual scares/shocks than anything. It’s easy to give away the whole story in just a few sentences. There were some plot elements, especially the creepy family’s creepy house in the woods, that read like an homage to gothic horror.
I do want to talk more about the art. It wasn’t my favorite style for the human characters, though I did enjoy the supernatural elements and the structural work. The houses, and the town itself were sufficiently creepy. I think Torres tried to translate that into the faces of his people and it made them overly angular and a bit flat.
This story feels like the set up to a larger horror story. Dan’s daughter will have an important role to play, perhaps when she’s older. Bunn mentions in the end notes of Issue #5 that Cold Spots will become part of a larger horror universe someday. I think it could be really cool (heh), but I almost wish this wasn’t the story that started it. For me, there wasn’t enough character or world building to really draw on for future stories. I’m a sucker for horror comics though, so I will be reading more from Cullen Bunn soon.
Cold Spots Vol. 1 collects issues 1-5 of the series, and will be released on March 5th, 2019.