The Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland

IDW

Oct 29, 2014 Issue #51 - September/October 2014 - alt-J Bookmark and Share


Man, that Joe Hill has some creepy-ass ideas, and they lend themselves very well to Charles P. Wilson III's comic book visuals in this companion piece to Hill's novel NOS4A2. A nightmarish Christmas of a theme park is the setting for much of this tale, populated by a pack of children with grotesque fangs; it's like something out of Where the Wild Things Are gone very, very wrong.

First, there's the origin of the ghastly Mr. Manx, the man behind Christmasland and its odd properties, and perhaps its very existence. Then, decades later, a group of criminals and the police who were supposed to be transporting them to prison are subjected to Manx's brand of horror; this is the meat of the book. The way Hill creates characters and how they interact and develop under an unreal, gruesome situation shows off his writing chops. There's some real emotional resonance there alongside the grotesque and frightening backdrop. The epilogue chapter is less a comic book and more a storybook that takes a close look into the life of a con man who, unbeknownst to him, is in part responsible for Manx's transformation into...whatever he is. It's a great, ghoulish cherry on top of this horror sundae.

If bloody, surreal, and sadistic horror with a clever construction and emotional core is your bag, this is your book. (www.idwpublishing.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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