Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review - Silent Hill Downpour: Anne's Story #1


When it comes to fictional locales, they range the gamut from awesome to terrifying. The Land of Ooo is awesome, Oz is both and Silent Hill definitely leans more towards the terrifying end of the spectrum. Still, fans of the Silent Hill franchise are always looking for an excuse to go back. Thankfully, IDW gives them a reason to in Silent Hill Downpour: Anne's Story #1, written by Tom Waltz, illustrated by Tristan "T-Rex" Jones, colored by Michael Spicer and lettered by Neil Uyotake.

Anne Marie Cunningham will be familiar to those who played Silent Hill Downpour. For those who didn't, she's the enigmatic prison officer bent on bloody revenge against the game’s main protagonist, Murphy Pendleton. The thing is that even those who played the game weren't entirely aware of why Anne ended up making her way through Silent Hill. Or why she was even there in the first place.

Rumor has it that Silent Hill Downpour: Anne's Story #1 was supposed to be DLC for the game and the book plays out something like that. Because it was supposed to be DLC, it feels a little disjointed when read on its own. Without having the base game fresh in the reader's mind, this first issue plays out somewhat confusingly. Waltz relies on a very staccato-like dialogue that feels rapid-fire and doesn't really let up on the reader, presenting lines that accentuate brevity over elaboration. The pacing is a little erratic as well, as the story jumps around quite a bit and doesn't really wait for the reader to catch up at all.

Jones' illustrations are a good match for the subject matter. The characters have an air of uneasiness about them and rightfully so considering the circumstances surrounding Silent Hill. There's a good blend of colors as well that help the reader keep up with when the story is taking place. One minor gripe about the art though is that a lot of it is exceedingly dark, almost to the point where it's hard to make out what's happening. Despite the darker tone of the book, Jones does a good job making the world feel terrifying and dangerous, tapping into the monstrous on a regular basis for the terror that resides in Silent Hill.

Silent Hill Downpour: Anne's Story #1 is a return to Silent Hill after two years of not really giving fans a way back in. Sure, there was the recent "reveal" that teases a new game in the series (with some pretty heavy hitters involved), but the last game was in 2012. Waltz does an admirable job with the issue, filling in the blanks for those who played the game, but unfortunately, Silent Hill Downpour: Anne's Story #1 isn't very accessible to new readers who haven't played the game. Jones' art is classically creepy and effectively conveys to the reader the horrors found within Silent Hill, even if some of the style is a little too gritty. Silent Hill Downpour: Anne's Story #1 is a book that fans of Silent Hill Downpour will definitely want to check out.

Silent Hill Downpour: Anne's Story #1 is in stores now with interiors below.






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