Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Review - Diablo House #1 (@IDWPublishing)


"Bottom line: things aren't always what they seem."

IDW Publishing is a business, but that doesn't mean it can't be creative and/or charitable. In their latest partnership with Humble Bundle they've offered something a little different in the form a comic by the publisher's CEO/Publisher Ted Adams. That offering is Diablo House #1. The issue is written by Ted Adams, illustrated by Santiperez, colored by Jay Fotos and lettered by Robbie Robbins.

Diablo House #1 plays out much like an episode of Tales from the Crypt--right down to Adams' decision to open the issue with a narrator in Riley. Adams allows the host of the Diablo House to tell the tale of a man and his motivations in life as they're influenced by those around him. The tale plays out with an air of familiarity, but Adams manages to make it feel terrifying because of the sheer depths of humanity plumbed en route to its ending. Diablo House #1 could pretty easily have devolved into just another apocalypse type story, but Adams refrains from doing that and stresses that there are terrors within individuals that are just as bad as anything that can affect the masses. Adams races through the issue to get to his point as well, bringing the reader along for the ride whether they like the whiplash or not.

Underscoring the evil that can be found in people is the artwork by Santiperez. The opening of the issue seems innocuous enough, but Santiperez dispels any notion of calm by offering a coast on fire that acts as a metaphor for the people living there. His characters also bear an uneasy look about them that feels as if they're contorting themselves unnaturally--perhaps it's another way to express the inner-workings of why people make the decisions they do. And Santiperez instills plenty of raw emotion in his characters through facial expressions that are also somewhat grotesque. The colors by Fotos do a great job of highlighting those emotional contortions by offering what is effectively mood-lighting for the pages that match the characters' relevant moods.

Diablo House #1 is a nice throwback to horror stories that draw their inspiration from reality. Riley isn't above telling stories that boast influences from works such as The Twilight Zone as the players don't realize the stakes of their decisions in the larger game. Adams is laying the groundwork for what could potentially be a great series that offers some form of societal introspection with a horrible twist. The artwork by Santiperez feels grimy and makes the reader feel equally as dirty in a way that reflects the caliber of the characters involved. Diablo House #1 is pretty slick issue that's honestly a lot of fun.

Diablo House #1 is available now.

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