A review of Halloween Eve by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder
Eve has an imagination that’s more than active – it can be downright dangerous! Working late at the costume super-store Halloween Land, she gets lost in her own thoughts until something goes bump in the night. The rubber masks and plastic novelties are coming to life, and Eve must face ghosts, goblins, and gorilla suits made real.
High fantasy and heartbreak in an oversized holiday one-shot by Brandon Montclare (Fear Itself: Fearsome Four) and Eisner Award nominee Amy Reeder (Batwoman, Madame Xanadu).
Halloween Eve is a sort of tribute to classics like Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz, one that is easy to see even without the few obvious nods they offer. Unfortunately its biggest problem is that it's a one-shot. This fact ruins what could otherwise be a decent story, throwing off the pacing and any chance of true characterization - something necessary for the title character with what they are attempting.
Eve, the main character, works at a Halloween costume store and hates it. She is the model of virtually every bad employee in retail. She hates her job, she hates halloween, she hates her co-workers and most of all, hates the fact they are required to play dress up on Halloween at the store. I suppose she is a good enough worker though, in that the manager somewhat tolerates her behavior. He assigns her late night clean up as punishment for her attitude though, triggering the real story.
It's at this point the story gets most interesting as she is decides to play dress up while alone with herself and then begins to imagine or experience another world ala Alice in Wonderland. A variety of strange, though recognizable Halloween character types appear and 'guide' her on a too-quickly paced journey to learn how to embrace being in costume.
The concept is interesting and the artwork is gorgeous, that alone makes the comic somewhat enjoyable. But the story just doesn't work in such a compressed format. An equal amount of pages are spent on Eve complaining and hating the idea of Halloween as is spent in 'Halloween Land' totally altering her feelings. Not to mention that frankly, not a lot really happens there other than some crazy imaginings; which work great with the amazing art, and a conversation. For the pay-off of a total 180 change in someone's personality, that breakthrough moment, there frankly just was not enough work to achieve that.
I think this story would have worked much better as a multi-part series where they could spend the necessary time for a change of character to make sense, as well as using a main character that was actually somewhat likeable pre-personality change, one a reader roots for. Some readers may relate and latch onto dialogue like "You guys don't understand girls, nothing is more scary to us than looking ourselves in the mirror." But an interesting line or two does not make up for what this story was lacking, what this story could have been.
The Bottom Line:
Perhaps if it was presented as a plot outline to a bigger story or even if I saw it being developed for some sort of tv-show that would be fleshed out more, interest would be there. Which puts me in an odd position of admiring the concept, parts of the writing and loving the art; but as it is, I wouldn't recommend this comic to readers.
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About the Author - Jeremy Shane
Jeremy was born in a small mountain village of a strange foreign land called Weystvurginea. Banishment for liberal views saw him spend years wondering the east coast until he decided to bike to California. When he saw how long a trip it was, he drove instead. Now he's living it up in a low humidity climate, sometimes working on his photography and when not, he writes for us covering books (by way of his blog: Reading Realms), gaming, tv, movies, comics, conventions in the SoCal area, and creates a weekly webcomic: A Journey Through Skyrim. If you look for him offline, start in the L.A. area; online start at: www.jeremyshane.info for his profile and all the social networks he's on... or just follow him on twitter, he seems to be on there a lot: @jeremyshane.
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