Writer: Jordi Bellaire
Artist: Vanesa R. Del Rey
Colors: Jordi Bellaire
Redlands is dark, nasty, and haunting. In the town of Redlands, Florida in 1977, three witches escape from a lynching by the local police and lay siege to the officers now hiding inside, terrified of what might be in the dark just outside their precinct as the lynching tree burns. What follows is a nightmare of murder, demons, and fear.
The first issue of Redlands feels very much like it’s the prologue to a horror movie, showing the horrible thing that happened in the past to a town that still bears scars, except by the end of the issue, that’s been turned on its head. The police officers reveal themselves to be such vile people, that it’s easy to side with the witches who plan to murder them all and take their town. After all, the police were the ones planning to murder them, so while the actions of the witches might not be justified, they’re understandable.
There’s a history here that’s only given brief glimpses. Obviously, with the issue taking place right after a failed lynching, there’s the question of how it failed and how it even came to be, but a ghost that haunts the Sheriff hints at a deeper history that’s being kept in the dark for now. This, along with the promise that the witches have future plans for Redlands makes the reader want to know what’s next after an excellent first issue.
And it really is a truly excellent first issue, mainly due to the art by Vanesa R. Del Ray, and the colors by Jordi Bellaire. All of the characters seem to be sketched right out of the darkness, emerging from it, almost. Heavy shadows hide details until they’re right on top of you, making for some truly frightening moments. The only light coming from the burning tree, the nooses still hanging from it, just enough to make out shapes and movement, but not the faces of the monsters lurking in the dark. Everything about this first issue is dripping in atmosphere and horror.
Ultimately, Redlands might be a bit too dark for some people. It’s definitely aiming for a specific style and aesthetic, and for the people who enjoy that style, it hits the bullseye directly. For fans of horror or southern-gothic, this is the comic for you.
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.