Review - Little Girl #1 (@DevilsDue)

"Things will be back to normal soon I promise."

There is no shortage of things in the world that are scary. What makes something scary largely depends on the individual as we all have fears rooted in a variety of life experiences. It's likely though that it's a general agreement that ghost kids like Abby May in Little Girl #1 from Devil's Due Publishing are scary for everyone. The issue is written by Pat Shand, illustrated by Olivia Pelaez, colored by Frank Gamboa (with J.C. Ruiz) and lettered by Jim Campbell.

When a cursed stuffed animal is given to an unknowing victim, the spirit of Abby May, a vengeful little dead girl, lashes out blindly at the living. However, as Abby's bloodlust leads her back to those responsible for her death, she begins to piece together the truth about how she died and how she lived.

At the core of Little Girl #1 is a troubled relationship between two romantic partners that Shand funnels the horror through. Shand does a great job in pacing the issue, offering a very slow burn as the reader gets to know the main characters and their troubles. The introduction of Abby May is done pretty subtly as well, in that Shand doesn't force her in for the sake of checking off a box. Instead, Abby May haunts the reader much like the characters as she periodically appears here and there to pretty dramatic effect. Her origin is a little fuzzy, but it's likely that Shand will delve further into that as the series unfolds.

Pelaez has a unique art style that adds an edginess to the tale. Characters are illustrated with basic, sharp angles throughout that offer a very stylized look at a little girl haunting individuals. Pelaez has a firm grasp on how to make the off-camera scares work as she illustrates Abby May in a relatively minimalist way so that the reader only sees glimpses of her. Shading is used to great effect as well, with Pelaez using heavier inks at some points to create an atmosphere of darkness for Abby May to inhabit. Gamboa's colors (with Ruiz) are spot-on in creating various moods, from the bright glow of a hotel room to the darkness of a bedroom while sleeping.

Little Girl #1 unapologetically wears its inspirations on its sleeve. Abby May is a spirit with a vengeance only it remains to be seen where the anger is truly focused. Shand's script is a good read and builds up the fear effectively. The illustrations by Pelaez do a lot to reinforce the horror at the center of the tale. Little Girl #1 is definitely a horror story that doesn't rely on gore to be scary; rather, it relies on the notion that what you can't see (or what only you can see) can be just as terrifying.

Little Girl #1 is available July 11.