Writer: Tom Ward
Illustrator: Luke Parker
Letterer: Nic J Shaw
Editor: Clare Lenton
Publisher: Self-Published (A Ward & Parker Comic)
WHAT IS IT?
A 44-page story set before the events of Merrick: The Sensational Elephantman. Much like the rest of Merrick, Treves: A Restless Night is roughly based on true events.
Think about how Hellboy has multiple one-shots that expand the universe and you have Treves: A Restless Night.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Before his life-changing meeting with Merrick, Frederick Treves had another supernatural trauma. This time while traveling throughout India with a fellow doctor – Tisdale.
Tisdale regales us with a story of a local that injured themselves coming to him for help. But, instead of getting help from the doctor, the local trusts a witchdoctor. As ending the story there wouldn't give us any more plot, tragedy strikes. But alas, we cannot go into further details without spoiling the story.
From now on you may call me...the Cover Lover! In all seriousness, Treves: A Restless Night cover works amazingly. The slick title logo draws your attention to the tentacle creature which then guides your eyes to our main character getting swarmed by rats. The flow finishes with the creative team and that it ties into the Merrick universe. All around a great and smart cover. Plus, not many covers actually portray moments that happen inside, yet this one does.
The title for the one-shot is pretty spot-on and catches your interest. Subtitles can honestly make or break a story. They set your expectations for the story inside and, in this case, those expectations were definitely met.
Treves: A Restless Night is a standalone story that can be enjoyed without reading Merrick. (But, you totally should read Merrick.)
As the above note mentions, since Treves: A Restless Night is a one-shot it can be read alone. But, there are a few cool callouts to Merrick and things that factor into the later story. Ward did a great job of making it a fun read while not relying on the main series, yet still adding teases in.
Anytime I partake in a prequel in any type of media I go in afraid. I personally don't like prequels as they can easily contradict the main story, not add anything, or just be plain bad. Yet, I found myself enjoying Treves: A Restless Night a lot and felt like it didn't fall into any of the usual problems with prequels. More one-shots as this would be great for the Merrick Universe.
Parker's art and colors look gorgeous in Treves: A Restless Night. His landscapes and the silent panels look amazing and show progress since the first arc of Merrick.
There are a few cutaway shots that Parker adds that are visually great, but they do another great thing for the story: pacing. These panels add great pacing to the story being told.
I personally have never seen a rat in real life, so I can't state my feelings on the animal. But damn, Parker may have made me afraid of the little animals. When they are introduced at night Parker's colors amplify the scene immensely, then you see dozens of eyes, then they attack. This scene alone is masterfully done and terrifying.
The fight scenes that transpire are clean and fluid making it easy to read, fun and their actions carry a lot of weight.
Parkers design for the creature and the way that it's introduced is awesome. I love seeing creature designs, and this one was great. Hopefully, we see more like this in the Merrick Universe.
During most of the fights, there aren't sound effects. Yet, in a few cases, Shaw adds some in, which gives the actions a little extra oomph.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Although the fight scenes and the creatures are awesome, they are some things some readers may not enjoy seeing. That said if you have a fear of rats or tentacle creatures, be wary.
Treves: A Restless Night may take place before the events of Merrick, but the team created the one-shot following the first four issues. This tidbit shows, as during the first arc the team progressively got better with the craft as they were just starting off. Whereas they had some beginner flubs in those issues, the team came together amazingly for this one-shot.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Why wouldn't you want to delve back into the Merrick universe? That alone should be reason enough. Nevertheless, here are other reasons.
Treves: A Restless Night is what one-shots like this should aim for; being able to be a separate story while also acting as a great companion to the main series. Even if for some crazy reason you don't read Merrick, Treves: A Restless Night is an amazing read by itself.
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