CHASING THE DEAD is a new horror genre comic book series from IDW that is based on a novel of the same name. Considering I haven't read the book, it's hard to say how much of this comic deviates from the original story in the novel. Ultimately, I don't know how much of this comic is different and how much creative liberty writers Matthew Scott and Tim Westland were able to take when writing this first issue, but what we get isn't all that bad.
The story opens with a flashback and then moves really quickly forward to the present day. We are introduced to the story's protagonist and the conflict she is experiencing very quickly but in a very organized way. As far as first issues go the creative team really covers their bases. You get a sense of who this main character is and what conflicts her, as well as a background on her experiences. You get a peek at her past and the event that will likely haunt her throughout the series. The dialogue in this comic is great; not only is it very fluid conversation, but it also gives readers an idea behind the character and her motivations. I can always appreciate when comic writers are able to tell a clear story primarily with the use of dialogue.
I think my biggest problem with this first issue was how formulaic it all was. In the very first few pages we witness a traumatic event experienced by the central character. Although it's an event that grabs the reader, it's inevitable that this event will be what triggers the horrors that are to come for the main protagonist. It wasn't just that this was a formulaic horror story, it was also a little bit too cliche. It felt like any other horror movie I have ever watched which isn't really a very good thing. Part of what makes a good horror story is not knowing what to expect when you turn the next page. This comic, in a lot of ways, felt a too predictable.
There's also a bizarre scene where the main protagonist realizes she forgets something and has the opportunity to grab it, but doesn't. It just feels like a missed opportunity. There were definitely some panels in this book that looked a bit awkward. The way some of the characters were presented were anatomically incorrect. I couldn't tell if it was the way the pencils were inked, but I think a lot of the detail was lost in the panels.
One of the things a good horror comic needs to be is unpredictable. The whole point of reading a horror comic is to revel in the suspense of what is happening and readers won't get that here. There is some absolutely awesome dialogue that will certainly draw you into the story and keeping you reading, but there's also this air of predictability to this issue as well. Unfortunately, you kind of know what's going to happen next and the idea here just feels a little bit too cliche. Additionally, the art wasn't terrible, but it was rather mediocre. I don't think the artist spent enough time making sure that characters were presented anatomically correct and a lot of the detail was lost in the inking and coloring of this issue. Overall, it was average; not great, and not terrible. The ending was pretty good and will leave you in suspense.