Revenge is a new comic book from Image Comics, written by television personality Jonathan Ross, and drawn by Marineman creator Ian Churchill. It’s most definitely set within the horror genre, which will become clear to any readers very quickly. From the first page it’s filled with blood, gore and complete terror, so much so that I could almost feel it spilling off of the page. One of the first things that I noticed was the complete overuse of naked, blonde bimbos, with boobs galore. The nudity would have been fine if it had any relevance to the plot, but it didn’t add anything other than confusion. It’s unfortunate but it’s a problem that persists throughout the whole issue, you may find yourself asking if any of this is really necessary for the story?
Focused around an old film-star who is continuing his search for eternal youth, this comic has a lot of dark twists and turns throughout the whole thing. Ironically, it appears that his search for youth is what leads him to his downfall. There’s a lot of backstory given in a rather unique and talented way, delivered via the victim remembering scenes from before he ended up in this situation, so you get to experience the type of man that he was. The story takes many different elements of horror stories, mixes them all together in a blender, and delivers a result that’s a little hard to swallow.
One of the key characters is a mad scientist not unlike Doctor Frankenstein with his ‘creations.’ He feels no remorse or guilt at the experiments he’s performing, or the effect he is having on human and animal lives. He only appears to feel a sick curiosity towards them, which makes him all the more terrifying. The premise is good and is actually rather interesting, but paired with the superb artwork of Ian Churchill, it is a little too realistic for my tastes. I am an avid lover of horror comics and I’ve read many different horror subgenres, but none as gruesome as this. The story seems to take a backseat too often in favour of prolonged scenes of pure anguish.
The artwork is very realistic and therefore really unnerving. It perfectly depicts exactly what Ross was trying to show, but unfortunately that just makes it even more disturbing. The blood and gore is drawn in such a way it makes the story believable and cringingly grounded, adding to my already churning stomach. It wasn’t something that I found enjoyable, instead quite the opposite. There is very little stylisation within Churchill’s work and it is very much a depiction of real looking people.
It’s terrifying enough thinking of being made paralysed by drugs, unable to help yourself, but you pair that with the realistic artwork and the fear you can see in the victim’s eyes gets a lot more uncomfortable to endure. There are even scenes where it is from the victim’s perspective, which makes it even more terrifying. One of the most memorable scenes in the book (thanks to Churchill’s artwork) is a scene where a beautiful woman kisses a man without a face, there’s even blood and gore hanging between their lips.
In conclusion, this is most certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. I can see why some people would enjoy it, but it is simply too realistic and goes too far with the gore to be a story which I can enjoy. One of the problems is that it feels gratuitous, as if it’s there to shock and disgust instead of tell the story. So although it’s an interesting premise with some amazing artwork, it’s most certainly not a comic I’d want to read again. If you think you could enjoy the incredibly intense scenes though, then you may be able to get some enjoyment out of Revenge #1.