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Early Review: Redlands #1

Welcome to Redlands, Florida. The police are failing to maintain control of their old-fashioned town, and a coven of killer witches plan to take everything from them. This summer, hide your bibles.

Redlands is the new series from Jordie Bellaire and Vanesa R. Del Rey is creepy, really creepy as we’re dropped right in the middle of a siege as small town police are surrounded by witches who are sick of them. The first issue is all about setting the mood and Bellaire and Del Rey brilliantly do exactly that with much of what we learn being brought to the reader through subtle details added to each panel.

It’s those small details that make this first issue really stand out and deliver. All of the police officers are white, there’s a Confederate flag on the wall, those things tell as much of the story as everything else. The colors by Bellaire too help set the mood with reds, yellows, and oranges dominating the hue like a fire on the page. That coloring and grittiness of the art sets a hell of a mood and one that’s clear as to what the vision is.

There’s a sexiness about it all too, one of danger and forbiddeness. The series is driven by the occult ad and everything together sets a mood that has me wanting more. It all comes together to feel like the beginning of a nightmare whose story has already begun and whose mystery we will unweave and learn about over time.

Along with the art, Clayton Cowles‘ lettering plays a fantastic role in giving us a grit about what’s spoken but the inclusion of interesting angles (handled by Del Rey) for gun blasts and noises creates a sense of motion for the action. One particular scene with a “slam” written out, that sound’s lettering is presented in a way that’s fresh and helps drive where the action is taking place adding to the flow of movement presented. Along with Cowle’s dialogue lettering, the sound effects help add to the atmosphere and gives us a better idea about these characters and world.

I’m not the biggest horror fan, but Redlands #1 is a debut that has me wanting to check out more and delivers the opening moments that have me hooked to find out the rest of the story. The worst part was I enjoyed the comic so much that it went by quickly and now I’m left waiting quite some time to read the second issue (damn early reviews!). An absolute buy as it’s a fantastic combination of story and art that come together to create a creepiness that has me excited to see what’s next.

Redlands #1 is out August 9, 2017.

Story: Jordie Bellaire Art: Vanesa R. Del Rey
Color: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review