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the October Faction #1

created by Steve Niles & Damien Worm

writer – Steve Niles

illustrator – Damien Worm

letterer – Robbie Robbins

Review by Joey Braccino

the October Faction #1 introduces us to the members of a macabre, morbid, mysterious family.

And that’s about it.

Scary, right?

Scary, right?

Steve Niles and Damien Worm, fresh off their well-received IDW horror comic Monster & Madman, attempt to bring that same moody monster storytelling to this brand new series, but the October Faction #1 falls flat in so many ways.

The story—from what I could discern from this exposition-laden, aimless first issue—is split between the four members of the Allan family. Frederick Allan, the patriarch, is a retired vampire hunter and current professor on monsters. The children, Geoff and Vivian are late-teenagers interested in spellcasting and ghostraising and terrifying their more popular (but morally terrible, obvi) peers. The mother, Deloris, is off getting secret keys from strange men in order to set up vague cliffhangers. And Frederick’s former partner, the vampire Lucas, shows up to inform Frederick about Deloris’ whereabouts and wax lyrical about “the Harlow family” job from the good old days.

And yeah. There is a distinct lack of clarity in any of the preceding proceedings, such that I really could not tell if and how and why I ought to be “scared” by the October Faction. Niles is an accomplished horror comics writer; last year’s Transfusion was one of the most innovative and intriguing horror books on the stands. Somehow, though, the October Faction feels like a cliché-ridden exposition piece. Perhaps Niles is setting up something larger, but this issue doesn’t exactly grab at anything engaging or interesting.

Damien Worm’s artwork is definitely going to be the biggest draw for horror fans looking into October Faction. His gaunt, twisted figures and dreary, dark shadows do establish an unsettling mood throughout, but the heavy inks and surreal layouts actually detract from a proper understanding of the narrative. At times, I literally had to hold the book up to my face to discern what was happening in the panel.

Verdict

Skip. Most definitely. the October Faction #1 is disappointing in its lack of clarity, lack of focus, and lack of movement. It does have a pretty moody aesthetic going for it, but anyone looking for good horror or a good story ought to look elsewhere.

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