Review - Cult Classic Creature Feature #1 (@thevaultcomics)

"The midnight hour approaches, and that means it's time for another episode of Cult Classic!"

An alien invasion will either be peaceful or rife with violence. In Cult Classic Creature Feature #1 from Vault Comics, it's a bit more of the latter. The issue is written by Eliot Rahal, illustrated by John Bivens, colored by Jerrie & Monahan and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

Eons ago, visitors from outer space buried an item of unimaginable power in the primordial swamps that would one day become King Lake-a quaint little basin on the edge of Whisper, USA. Millions of years later, a comet's radioactive waves awaken the monster slumbering beneath the lake. As the beast feeds on America's sweet, delicious youth, brain-slugs infect the quiet town, causing victims to vomit up their kill-hungry, zombified skeletons. But for seventeen-year-old Jarrod Parker, none of that stuff matters much. For him, this isn't about the Apocalypse. It's about payback. Nothing-not his friends, not the undead, not even the end of the world-will keep him from vengeance.

There's a lot going on in the first issue and Rahal does his best to corral plenty of seemingly disparate storylines into one more cohesive tale. Rahal couches the tale in a late-night creep show mentality, providing an unsettling atmosphere for the the story to develop and unfold. Rahal's dialogue embraces that tone very well, infusing the issue with a B-horror movie sensibility that doesn't take itself too seriously and embraces the outlandish nature of the transpiring events. There are certainly the expected cast of characters in the issue, all of whom Rahal allows to play a part in the rapid-fire madness of the issue. The extreme pace of the issue doesn't really allow the reader much time to catch their breath either, with Rahal throwing one chaotic interaction after another in quick succession.

Creating an appropriate look for the book is Bivens' artwork which seems to elongate an otherwise refined line style. That approach infuses the issue with a tinge of nostalgia, as the characters maintain an appearance that's a little rough around the edges and an homage in some ways to the artwork in MAD Magazine. Bivens illustrates the characters with a loose sensibility that allows for the creepier aspects to look very unsettling and reinforce the unsavory aspects of the arrival of the brain-slugs. Bevins renders the horror aspects very well and in a way that's not altogether frightening; rather, his approach makes the reader feel more uncomfortable. The colors by Jerrie & Monahan are darker in appearance and help set the night-time atmosphere well.

Cult Classic Creature Feature #1 is a very fast-moving issue that doesn't allow the reader to catch their breath. Setting the events of the issue against the backdrop of a science-fiction show is pretty adventurous and ensures there's a sense of levity to the action. Rahal's script is slick and frenetic, mirroring the inevitable chaos that ensues if such events were to occur. Bivens' illustrations are emphatic and demonstrative, giving the reader a glimpse at what a zombified skeleton might look like after being ejected from the body. Cult Classic Creature Feature #1 is a pretty fun first issue that capitalizes on some light horror and science-fiction for good measure.

Cult Classic Creature Feature #1 is available October 16.