Royal Nonesuch has your review of MEMOIR #1, the beginning of a new horror story by Ben McCool and Nikki Cook, published by Image Comics!
Credits & Solicit Info:
story BEN McCOOL, art NIKKI COOK, cover JOHN CASSADAY
32 PAGES / BW
ISSUE ONE: …LONG, LONG ROAD
Writer BEN McCOOL (CHOKER) teams up with artist NIKKI COOK (Girl Comics, DMZ) for this six-part tale of mystery and memory loss. Lowesville is a small town in the American Midwest, peaceful and quaint. But one morning the population awakens with no idea of who they are, where they are, or what’s happened. The town’s memory has been completely erased. All except for one man… He remembers everything.
Small-town America isn't for the faint of heart. A lot of hay has been made in the horror genre about the creepiness and insularity of small towns with big secrets. These tales are usually told from the point of view of the visitor from the big city who is unwelcome upon arrival, can't make heads or tales of this new place, and eventually gets sucked into the secret horror that the town is hiding. These small-town yokels don't make much sense, seemingly speaking another language, and nothing ever goes right for the outsider.
This culture clash is at the heart of MEMOIR #1. Trent MacGowan, a hip, young reporter travels to the small rural town of Lowesville to investigate just why the entire population had spontaneously lost its memory ten years earlier. Lowesville as a setting is appropriately unsettling not just because of Trent's sense of isolation, but also because the dark, heavy inks used by Nikki Cook. The pages are drenched in beautiful black, bringing out a lively sense of depth and contrast that so many independent books fail to achieve with flat, oversaturated computer coloring (which seems to be an unfortunate trend). The oppressive and omnipresent shadows cause such a spooky atmosphere that there is never any doubt what type of story you're reading. Some of the anatomy is inconsistent, but the storytelling and form more than make up for it.
After setting the tone of the story and sufficiently introducing us to Trent via first-person narration in the first two-thirds of the issue, writer Ben McCool builds up to a grisly (and gorgeously rendered by Cook) reveal followed by a cliffhanger that make the next issue, at the very least, an absolute must read. As great as the ending of the issue is, though, that earlier portion is worth looking at by itself. It shows McCool and Cook's proficiency at setting up atmosphere and tone via the main character's detective work and exploration of the small, creepy town. Overall, MEMOIR #1 really does the "stranger in the strange town" motif right. It's a very well-executed horror story, and promises to lead to a scary and intense read once it's completed.
Review by: Royal Nonesuch