Review – Cursed Comics Cavalcade #1: Halloween Horror

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Cursed Comics Cavalcade #1 cover, credit to DC Comics.

Cursed Comics Cavalcade #1 – Tim Seeley, Gary Dauberman, Vita Ayala, Kenny Porter, Gabriel Hardman, Corrina Bechko, Mags Visaggio, Michael Moreci, Bryan Hill, Dave Weilgosz, James Tynion IV, Writers; Kyle Hotz, Riccardo Federici, Victor Ibanez, Riley Rossmo, Gabriel Hardman, Minkyu Jung, Dexter Soy, Christian Duce, Artists; Felipe Watanabe, Mark Buckingham, Pencillers; Jonas Trinidade, Inkers; FCO Plascencia, Sunny Gho, Matthew Wilson, Ivan Plascencia, Trish Mulvihill, Jordie Bellaire, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Veronica Gandini, Andrew Pepoy, Colorists

Ratings:

Ray – 9/10

Corrina: Spooky Fun

Ray: The latest oversized season anthology, Cursed Comics Cavalcade is a horror-themed 80-page volume featuring ten stories from a mix of established DC talent and indie rising stars. Overall, it’s not as strong as the recent Beach Blanket Bad Guys, but it has quite a few gems in its large pack of stories.

Corrina: I would switch that order of quality, as I enjoyed these tales and found them more effective than Beach Blanket. Still, these creators are producing strong work. When can we see those who aren’t already assigned to titles full-time on DC books?

Swamp Thing

Ray: It kicks off with a Swamp Thing tale from Tim Seeley and Kyle Hotz. Focusing on Alec Holland doing battle with a creepy spreading fungus, the threat turns out to be an experiment that could have created a second – and much more dangerous – type of Swamp Thing. The story’s a bit quick, but the visuals are perfectly creepy.

Corrina: This was the creepiest of the stories, especially with the transformation between human and fungus. ::shudders::

Batman

Ray: Gary Dauberman and Riccardo Federici’s “Gorehound” is a clever Batman story set at a Gotham camp stalked by a masked killer, with a great last-page twist that upends the conventions of the horror genre and has perfectly suited, creepy art.

Corrina: Twist spooky ending! Perfect. Though I once again voice my objections to how Arkham is depicted in Batman mythos, as it’s definitely not a place for the mentally ill, criminals or not.

Wonder Woman

Ray: “Siren Song”, by Vita Ayala and Victor Ibanez, is a Wonder Woman story set in Greece that takes her back to her mythological roots by pitting her against a Siren terrorizing a local village. It’s a little slight, but has a great creepy monster.

Corrina: Add drowning to my new list of nightmares, at least drowning by way of a Siren. This was an excellent way to use Diana. I will add Ayala to the list of potential writers for Wonder Woman. But I also have to mention Ibanez’s art, especially in the underwater sequences.

Guy Gardner

Ray: Kenny Porter and Riley Rossmo’s “Life Sentence” is a Guy Gardner story that is more of a straightforward sci-fi tale than a horror book – it involves Guy being called away from his rare R&R to investigate a stranded ship that contains a horribly altered Green Lantern long thought dead. It has a creepy Alien vibe but lacks the impact of some of the others.

Corrina: This was more sci-fi and it’s an interesting look at the mythos of the Green Lantern and what can happen to those not quite living or dead. Not too scary, however.

The Demon Etrigan

Ray: “Yellow Jack” by Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko, is an unusual Demon story – Jason Blood is free of Etrigan, but that’s unleashed a horrible curse into the world in this Victorian-set story.

Corrina: I like the way Jason is all “I’m free, leave me alone,” and then immediately drops that when he realizes what is happening. It’s definitely a more heroic Jason than I’ve seen in a while.

Superman

Ray: The best story of the entire volume is “Strange Visitor” by Mags Visaggio and Minkyu Jung, an eerie tale of Superman seeing a mysterious shadow being stalking his family – and being unsure if it’s his mind playing tricks on him. It’s a great story that humanizes Superman and shows he’s still vulnerable. Mags writing a Superman title when?

Superman haunted. Credit to DC Comics.

Corrina: Superman for Mags, soon, Ray! I hope. Well, probably not, since Bendis seems to have cornered the market on our mild-mannered reporter but, here, Mags shows a great touch in depicting Clark’s human side and his ability to investigate mysteries.

Green Arrow

Ray: Michael Moreci and Felipe Watanabe’s “The Monster in Me” is a Green Arrow tale with him being stalked by a monstrous version of himself during a heat wave, and the ambiguous nature of the story doesn’t quite work.

Corrina: Is it a monster or is it Ollie falling apart? It’s not quite clear and that makes the story feel incomplete.

Batman and the Outsiders

Ray: “Mercy Killing”, by Bryan Hill and Dexter Soy, is both a stand-alone tale and a preview of Batman and the Outsiders, with Black Lightning and Katana hunting a demon and protecting a child in Japan. It’s a great preview of what looks like an amazing title.

Corrina: The appeal in this story is not the demon being terrifying but the growing friendship and trust between Jefferson and Katana. Even when Jefferson is dealing with the unknown, he’s confident and protective.

Damian Wayne/Robin

Ray: Another gem is Dave Wielgosz and Christian Duce’s “The Devil You Know”, which teams Damian Wayne and Solomon Grundy in a surprisingly sweet story involving rescuing a trio of Grundy’s friends from Professor Pyg. I’m not a fan of Pyg at all, but it was fun to watch him get smashed here.

Corrina: Gah. Professor Pyg. I do not understand the fascination creators have with him. However, the interplay between Grundy and Damian makes the tale work.

Zatanna’s Halloween. Credit to DC Comics.

Zatanna

Ray: Then comes one more classic story in “Halloween Hayride”, a flashback tale featuring James Tynion IV and Mark Buckingham, as a teenage Zatanna makes the most of her Halloween while stuck in a small town by helping a timid girl face her fears and teaching her cruel older brother a lesson.

Corrina: This is less a scary story than a tale of teenage Zatanna giving a little comeuppance to those who richly deserve it. Which is always fun.

Conclusion

Ray: This entire volume is less scary than eerie, and it works really nicely in that vein. A huge improvement over last year’s Halloween edition.

Corrina: I like eerie better than scary, as it seems to me that scary is often about violence, whereas eerie leaves this vaguely unsettled feeling that I find more effective. And the tales in this comic are eerily effective.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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