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