|THE OCTOBER FACTION No. 2, November 2014|
It seems highly unlikely that Eric Powell, creator of "The Goon", had this particular edition in mind when he boldly stated that “if you’re looking for mystery and atmosphere of a dark nature, [then] The October Faction is the comic to add to your reading list!” For whilst Steve Niles’ twenty-page long narrative concerning “the Allans of Gristlewood, USA” starts well enough with a Seventies flashback of Frederick and Lucas (the Lycanthrope) confronting a genuinely scary-looking axe-wielding maniac. The Horror novelist’s writing soon becomes rather bogged down amidst some of the more mundane elements of modern-day family life, such as the “retired monster-hunter” having to endure a tediously long-winded argument with his two adolescent children over supper; “You can at least hear him out, Dad. Some parents would be touched their kids want to follow in their footsteps.”
Admittedly this rather tiresome dialogue-heavy sequence is initiated as a result of the white-haired Patriarch being rather dramatically half-throttled to death by an apparition Geoff has kept trapped in an upstairs wardrobe. Yet even this sinisterly surreal scene is seemingly played for laughs as opposed to creating any aura of fear with its “ectoplasmic residue.” Indeed, Frederick’s urgent pleas to “get it off me!” as the ghost wrestles him to the ground, followed by a heavily sarcastic “don’t wait for her to take it! Shove it in her face” when his daughter impotently stands by holding a hand-mirror, are incredibly amusing… And a far cry from the “downright creepy” experience many of this title’s 7,174 readers were probably expecting.
Eventually, towards the end the comic, Niles does rather laboriously try to bring back this publication's promised pervading sense of mystery. But disappointingly, would should presumably have been a nervy, frightening revelation that the estranged Mrs Allan has been inexplicably attacked and hospitalised, instead simply becomes an overly long bed scene where Deloris’ “stressed” husband once again starts momentarily bickering with his offspring about his past, whilst simultaneously threatening the local Sheriff Chambers.
Damien Worm’s ordinarily “gorgeous” artwork also infuriatingly takes a seemingly sudden turn for the worse during Issue Two of “The October Faction”. Initially “lavishly crafted” and full of “dark… seductive tones”, the Spanish painter’s uniquely angular line work appears half-finished and almost amateurish in style by the time Frederick takes his brood “down for dinner.” In fact, by the end of the comic a good deal of the breakdowns depicting its lead character are so poorly rendered that they’re arguably unrecognisable as belonging to the “Monster & Madman” mini-series illustrator.
|The variant cover art of "THE OCTOBER FACTION" No. 2 by Damien Worm|