Friday, 29 April 2016

The October Faction #4 - IDW Publishing

THE OCTOBER FACTION No. 4, January 2015
Whilst this particular twenty-page periodical still contains plenty of “werewolves, robots and dead men, Oh my!” it does so by having its narrative focus far more upon dialogue-driven exposition than action. In fact, besides having Frederick forcefully “wham” Merle Cope’s head with a shovel when Vivian spots the fiend isn’t quite dead and Robot Face punching out Lucas’ passenger car door when he hears his “Dad worked with the man who stole you and hurt you”, very little of note actually takes place within this “ongoing comic for some time.”

Fortunately for its 6,044 strong audience however, Steve Niles’ storyline still manages to retain its enthrallingly macabre atmosphere through the use of plenty of black humour, such as the Allan children’s wide-eyed horror at the realisation that they must secretly bury a corpse in the middle of the night, and another pistol-pulverising flashback to the elderly Monster Hunter’s yesteryear when he killed Dante’s maniacal father. “The master of comic book horror” even manages to throw in a disconcertingly grisly cliff-hanger by having Cope claw his way to the surface and walk amongst the woodland (with his rotund sister) as one of the living dead; “Well, come the hell on. I ain’t got all stinkin’ night!”

Issue Four of “The October Faction” is additionally noteworthy for co-creator Damien Worm’s colourful breakdowns. Described as having “the surreal style of Ben Templesmith” the Spanish painter’s decision to shade the bloody scenes set within Frederick’s home with a wonderfully warm palette of deeply rich reds, really helps emphasise the fact that a brutal murder has taken place there, as well as the fact that Vivian and Geoff’s hearts are clearly pounding having witnessed the head of their household callously, and without warning, shoot a visitor dead right in front of their adolescent eyes.

The artist is similarly as effective when depicting Lucas’ seemingly genuine attempt to befriend Robot Face after the pair’s previous altercation. Indeed, despite the older man desperately trying to show the mechanically-disfigured “kid” some kindness by feeding him cheeseburgers after he discovers the teenager hasn’t “eaten in years”, the coldl blue hues chosen for the scene set within the lycanthrope’s automobile really helps exaggerate the aura of isolation surrounding Dante. Little wonder Niles enjoys working with Worm when he “can just let the pictures tell the story.”
The variant cover art of "THE OCTOBER FACTION" No. 4 by Damien Worm

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