PREY FOR US, ISSUE #1
Writer: Matt Garvey
Illustrator: J Francis Totti
WHAT IS IT?
A survival horror story on a strange planet.
It's Pitch Black but lime green.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Oliver Geary crash-landed in a stasis pod, far from the others on his ship. He wakes up on a strange planet with little gear and night falling fast.
He has no idea if his crew mates (including the love of his life) survived, but he has a lead on how he might be able to find them.
The hardest part won't be the long trek there, however.
The hardest part will be surviving the journey.
So much of Prey For Us works because of silence and pacing. Horror is hard in a comics medium. In TV and film, you have sound and music. You have jump scares. People can't accidentally catch a glimpse of a later panel on that same page and ruin a surprise. Garvey & Totti work together to tell the story of a single, lonely person. I'll break up some examples over the next few bullets (which I can't indent because Wix is weird?):
The slow realization over several descending panels that he's all alone, separated from his love, who may be dead.
The silence underlining how terrifyingly alone he is
The build-up to a page-turn and the reveal after that page-turn
The jumping zoom of three panels onto the crashed stasis pod (shown below) immediately grounds you as to what kind of story this is: sci-fi survival/horror on an alien planet.
A palette of electric blues and the hard lime green scream "alien world." They're aggressive, harsh, and seeing our protagonist trudge into it virtually naked does not bode well for his safety. The rare red seems blistering-hot, foreign, terrifying in how alien it seems against the blues and greens.
Because Oliver is all alone, there's not much dialogue except for the rare comment he makes to himself. Rather than raving to himself like an unhinged psychopath or relying on thoughts or solely the action to carry the story, the first-person narration uses captions Oliver records in his log. Even then, there's little dialogue. Not only does it keep pages neat and all the elements rectangular and tidy, it (again) elevates the mounting terror of how alone and vulnerable he is.
Discussion with his computer and context clues cleverly fill in any blanks in the story.
The sound effects are scratchy and savage, which feels right on a primal, alien planet.
The dual-meaning of the title works well to set the tone: It sounds like "Pray for us," meaning the good guys need all the help they can get. But the spelling shifts the owners of the "Us" to the monstrous villains. The good guys are their prey.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
So far, the cover is misleading, as there is no evidence of zombie-ish creatures.
If you're looking for a super-new concept, you might not find it here. This feels more like a "best-of" combination of space-themed survival horror. That being said, it seems pretty scary and well done so far, so I wouldn't count it out before checking it out.
There's one place where the dialogue uses “instantly” 3 times in only a few panels. It doesn't seem intentional, like it's playing at parallelism or like there was any deeper reason behind it. Personally, it took me out of it, but that’s might just be a "me" thing.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
I've said it before in this review, but if you're a fan of survival horror in space, I think you'll love Prey For Us.
This first issue sets up what promises to be an absolutely terrifying, gripping comic.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
The Ether by Matt Garvey & Dizevez
Road of Bones by Rich Douek & Alex Cormack
Manifest Destiny by Chris Dingess, Owen Gieni & Matthew Roberts
If you like the art:
Our Land by Matt Fitch, Chris Baker & J Francis Totti
Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter by Olivia Cuartero-Briggs, Adam Glass & Hayden Sherman
The Unsound by Cullen Bunn & Jack T. Cole
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Matt Garvey – Writer
Often puts the first issue of his comics up for free. Keep an eye on his Twitter for when this happens!
Most of his comics fall more on the serious side, but this one establishes Matt Garvey as a talented writer of comedy, too.
Outlander: Lives in the U.K.
J Francis Totti – Artist
Got flatting assistance from Roberto Cloma for this issue
Outlander: Hails from Liverpool
Seems to gravitate toward bright, bold colors
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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