Off the Shelf: October Faction Volume 1

October Faction cover

Nutshell: Eerie art and clever writing gets October Faction off to a good start, series-wise.  Would love to have some behind-the-scenes tidbits and sketch covers in this TPB, but I can wait.  Looking forward to seeing these characters develop, but the story is a freaky-fun monster party nonetheless.  Grade: A-

Story: Frederick Allen (monster hunter, retired) tries to keep his family safe while dealing with the ghosts — some literal — of his past.  Meanwhile, his kids summon ghosts and his wife does much worse…

Best Line:
“To most of the natural world, humans are the monsters that bump in the night, that take the children and murder the parents.”

Thoughts:
Niles knocks it out of the park in October Faction.  Whip-smart dialogue that manages to sum up oceans of thought in a single sentence. But the characters themselves are ciphers at this point; I’m hoping they’ll flesh out as things progress.

Damien Worm’s art is suitably creepy, and I love what he does with panels.  Check out page 9*; a sense of dread thanks to small squares that show red eyes getting closer and closer.  His use of color — some pages in black and white, others in sepia, still more in black, white and red — set the tone while never taking away from Niles’ dialogue.  Edgy, beautiful work.

But the overall editing of this volume is choppy. Could be because I read an ARC rather than the finished piece, so there’s no cover art breaking up the chapters/issues.  (Nor was there a cover, table of contents or publication information.  All of which I’m certain will be included in the final printing.)  There are also a few instances where reveals are a bit too sudden — Frederick’s former hunter pal springs to mind — but with Worm’s gloriously ominous art and the intriguing mythology Niles creates here, I’m willing to overlook a few bumps in the hope that pacing will even out once the story truly takes hold.

Subscribe or Shelve: If you’re a fan of Niles, you’re probably already reading this.  But if you like monster parties and haven’t gotten your grubbies on this series yet, give it a try.

Publication 411: Collects issues 1-6 of October Faction. Hits stores August 11, 2015.

[*NOTE: I received an ARC of this title from the publisher.  That did not influence this review, though the page numbers in the finished book may differ slightly.]

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