Royal Nonesuch checks in with a review of the first issue of ECHOES, the new story by writer Joshua Hale Fialkov!
Credits & Solicit Info:
The First Shocking Suspense Series from Minotaur!
Brian Cohn is a diagnosed schizophrenic leading a simple, uncomplicated life in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. He’s expecting his first child with his wife. When he goes to visit his estranged Alzheimer’s afflicted father on his deathbed, the dying old man confesses to being a serial killer. Now Brian is faced with discovering a horrifying new side to his father and left wondering if we ever really escape familial legacies.
From acclaimed author Joshua Hale Fialkov (Tumor, Pilot Season: Alibi) and rising artist Rahsan Ekedal (Creepy) a disturbing story of murder and mystery wrapped in questions of sanity.
Grayscale 32 pages $2.99 limited series
Fathers and sons don't always coexist peacefully. They tend to butt heads and agonize over the choices the other makes while demanding understanding from each other, if they interact at all. The conflicts take root early, and usually last a lifetime. A lot of the time, one generation feels like it's being let down by the subsequent one. Just as often, each generation is failed by the one before it. Joshua Hale Fialkov's story Elk's Run is, as much as anything else, a story about a clash of generations. Fialkov returns to the concept of the secret sins of the father affecting the son in his new story ECHOES.
Fialkov uses some clever tricks to get to the storytelling quickly and effectively. A lot of background is covered in an efficient manner, putting the reader right into the main character Brian's fragile mindset rather smoothly. Mental illness is rarely depicted sensitively or realistically in comics, but Fialkov carefully makes Brian's schizophrenia an organic and truthful experience. The story is quiet and well-paced, making the horror of the last few pages that much more palpable. The discovery of the big secret is absolutely chilling, both in the scene itself and the implications it has for the life of poor Brian Cohn, who already has so much to deal with.
Newcomer Rahsan Ekedal's moody art is very atmospheric and the tonal inks add a lot of weight to the story. Brian Cohn's world is dark, shady, and hazy, and it always feels like anything could jump out at you. In fact, Brian's hallucinations feel real. There's nothing particularly otherworldy about them, and they occupy the same space as anything real Brian comes across, especially in his old childhood home, so they're just as credible as the real world. It's a tough mental space to occupy, and Brian's struggles are apparent on his weary face.
Horror comics, especially psychological horror, are tough to pull off without the benefit of sound, and with only so much control over the way time is used. Still, Fialkov and Ekedal do pull off the atmospheric fireworks necessary by making the characters and setting so rich. The horror comes from the characters themselves rather than some over the top spectral menace. It's scary stuff, all coming from a father and son story.
Review by: Royal Nonesuch