Review - The Plot #1 (@thevaultcomics)

"In order to receive, first you must give."

A family brings with a history that may be good or bad depending on the family. In The Plot #1 from Vault Comics, a family's history provides a continual sense of foreboding. The issue is written by Tim Daniel & Michael Moreci, illustrated by Joshua Hixson, colored by Jordan Boyd and lettered by Jim Campbell.

In order to receive... First you must give. When Chase Blaine's estranged brother and sister-in-law are murdered, he becomes guardian to McKenzie and Zach, the niece and nephew he hardly knows. Seeking stability for the children, Chase moves his newly formed family to his ancestral home in Cape Augusta...which overlooks a deep, black bogland teeming with family secrets.

Daniel and Moreci really strike a brilliant balance between character development and pacing in the first issue. There's a creepy introduction to the overarching plot with the characters slowly being shown to the reader as the issue unfolds in a way that ties things together quite nicely. What Daniel and Moreci excel at in the issue is tying everything together elegantly in a way that's founded on strong interpersonal relationships between the characters. There's a steady thread tying the characters to one another that's pervasive throughout the issue that the writers pull on lightly throughout the issue. And the issue's finale is bold in its ambiguity, in that it definitely leaves a lot to the imagination as far as where the series will go from here.

Hixson's illustrations are somewhat vague in their appearance, but it works in a way that fits the comic's overall atmosphere. Hixson's linework is defined by black lines that vary in thickness from character to character and panel to panel. And the panel progressions are very deliberate in a way that mirrors the tick-tock pacing of the issue; for instance, there's a series of panels depicting a phone ringing and a character deciding whether or not to answer. The reader really gets a sense of the internal conflict on the part of said character as the panels depict a steady approach/backing away from answering that's very powerful in its presentation. Boyd's colors are extremely earthy and moody, providing some weight to the notion of the land/house as another character.

The Plot #1 is a very taut first issue that calculates its chills well. Chase is looking for a stable life for his two new children, but what he finds might say a lot more about his family's history than he's willing to accept. Daniel and Moreci pace the issue very methodically, presenting a slow burn of an issue that gradually builds to a dramatic crescendo. Hixson's illustrations are grimy in a way that infuses the book with atmosphere. The Plot #1 is a powerful first issue that establishes a tone of chills and terror down the line.

The Plot #1 is available now.