Somewhere in Midwestern America was a place called Conover County. When the old book was opened, and the runes therein used in haste and ignorance, a place of farms, simple folk, and small-town dreams became a den of monsters and nightmare. North 40 is the story of those who survived and came to confront an even greater evil on the horizon – one that wouldn’t just consume their flesh, but their souls as well. That’s the official description of Wildstorm’s first issue of their new horror comic, North 40. A six issue series detailing what happens when a county full of rednecks, trailer parks and farm boys are visited by evil forces from another dimension.
Always on the lookout for horror comics, I had read some good stuff about this particular title. I was a bit hesitant at first, mostly because Wildstorm, an imprint of DC comics, is also responsible for the latest A Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre comics. All of which I enjoyed on some levels, but overall I never really warmed up to them. But they may have something here that I can get into.
After inadvertently opening a portal to another dimension, a very nasty and very evil entity is trying to take advantage of it. It wants to get through to our world bad. But the opening is not big enough for it to make a grand entrance, but big enough for some dark powers to get through and effect every resident of Conover County.
When the portal was opened, the entire county blacked out and wakes up the next morning to some crazy shit. Some have been transformed into monsters, while others are given new, dark powers, abilities or appendages. Some use their abilities to do some terrible. terrible things – sometimes beyond their control – and others use them for good. Seeing as this is only planned to be a 6 issue series, they waste no time introducing the initial characters, doing most of it within two pages.
Dyan – Jaded Goth chick responsible for the portal being opened after reading passages from The Book. Robert – Acquaintance of Dyan’s and the one who brought The Book to her to impress her. David – Part of the Atterhull clan and constant trouble for the Conover police department. After the blackout, grows in size and strength. A redneck version of The Hulk. Sheriff Morgan – Older, no nonsense law enforcement officer. A man of few words, fair, calculating and takes recent events in stride; continuing to do his job as if this shit happens every day. No known powers revealed, but my favorite character in the comic. Luanne - A young waitress at the local diner. After blackout, she is able to “see” through the eyes of crows.
Miss Sparks – Owner or manager of diner. Christian woman who is showing no particular changes after the blackout
Jenny – Local girl who is dating the mayor’s son. After the blackout, she falls into a creek and drowns. But she doesn’t let her death stop her from getting the man she loves. Brad – The mayor’s son. No known powers after the blackout aside from the fact that he now has a homicidal, zombie girlfriend – if he likes it or not. Wyatt – Local boy whose is picked on by his peers. Loyal to his father who he supplies with beer, cigarettes and porn. After blackout, he is seemingly indestructable and can fly. Wyatt’s Pa - Aside from his penchant for porn, beer and cigs, Pa is now a real-life couch potato with the ability to transform the earth and swallow people whole. Amanda – A key figure in that she is given all the information on what is happening, and has become an apprentice of the “forgotten arts” in order to do battle with what is coming. Old Woman – Only seen in shadow, the old woman is The Voice who talks to and mentors Amanda, teaching her to use her powers. The Atterhulls – Trailer park clan. Fred and David shown, Suzie heard. At this point, aside from David, the effects of the blackout on the brood are unknown.
Aaron Williams’ (PS238, The Nodwick Chronicles) writing is pretty good, the dialog fitting the individuals personalities along with a Uncle Jesse style persona who narrates the comic. There are a couple memorable moments in North 40 (the zombie stalker, the unfortunate person who ate their family members) that have me anticipating what horrific things he has planned next. But none of this would matter much if paired up with some crappy art, and thankfully that is not the case here. I loved Fiona Staples (Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor) artwork. She draws the characters in an athletic, lean style creating human characters that are easy to distinguish from one another while also constructing some pretty memorable monsters that mesh well within the environment.
So horror fans, if you have been looking for some new comics to check out, keep your eyes out on this one. It’s Heroes meets Evil Dead II, My Name is Earl written by H.P. Lovecraft. Either way, for me, it’s looks like some damn good horror and I cannot wait to read the second issue.