Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Jordan, Strahm, Sobreiro & Cobb
"Spread" is a no holds barred horror comic book that takes a very bloody look at the apocalypse. Make no mistake, this comic book is not for the feint of heart. For the most part, the story follows three characters through a very limited set of scenery changes while being chased by some of the most grotesque and creative monsters this side of a John Carpenter movie. The series just began its second arc with the eighth issue last month so now is a good time to check this comic book out.
The series begins with a bang as the first issue is one of the best initial offerings I've read in some time. The lead character is named "No" which can definitely confuse a reader when reading dialogue, but you get used to it because that is pretty much all the character ever says: "No."
No looks a lot like Wolverine. He fights like Snake Eyes. Perhaps there's some Larry Hama influence at work here. Regardless, he's basically a man that survived on his own because he has lightning fast reflexes and is very agile. What is he fighting? That is also revealed in the first issue.
If you have ever seen the John Carpenter version of "The Thing" then you have a pretty good idea of what the monster is in this comic book. Except the scale, the volume and destructive power are much greater in this comic book. The monster has the ability to assume human form, hide under the ground and do just about anything else it wants to. The motivation seems to be to simply rid the planet of the human population. Many of the humans seem to have died from a sickness that may be related to contact with these things but not everyone.
In the first issue No finds a baby named Hope. It is quickly revealed that this baby has the ability to kill these things with fluid contact. No also finds a woman named Molly that fills the void of losing her baby with No's baby. The trio quickly find trouble while looking for food in a town they come across.
The fourth issue marks a big turning point because three small supporting characters play major roles. Ravello, the man that leads a gang of thugs, is tracking No and finds him in this town. Preacher, tracking the baby, also finds No and company in this town. Jack, the leader of the town finds Hell reigning down on his town. No, Molly and baby Hope are caught in the crossfire.
Issues four and five are as bloody and tension filled as they come. The monsters also show up at the town and things get crazy quickly. It turns out that No isn't the only one capable of fighting. If this comic appeared to be a slow burn, these two issues refute that idea quickly.
Issue six brings the first arc to a bloody conclusion with unexpected results on more than one front. The arc wasn't closed off at all how I would have guessed. Issue seven is the twisted origin story of one of the characters. The eighth issue is the opening to the next arc and puts the protagonists in despair immediately.
The series is fantastic. I don't say that lightly. This is one of the best comics out there now. The character work is strong. The plot is simply but provides some dramatic points in it. The world building is straightforward but allows for plenty of possibilities in future arcs. The artwork is bloody and powerful.
The artwork is a highlight in this comic book. As the detailed and bloody covers suggest, you get your bang for your buck in the contents. The comic book is extremely creative with the monsters, but also the main characters. For example, Jack is a mountain of a man and the artwork details the rolls on his belly and his enormous head as if it were portrait. Some of the more bloody moments include a scene with a man in a tub with a woman. The woman is beautiful, delicate and then turns into one of the most hideous monsters you've ever seen. When the town becomes the focus of multi-sided battle, the horror of war is captured in all of the gruesome detail you can imagine. The comic book is brilliant to look through. Each issue also contains a compliment of pinups from fans and other creators to help round out the visual experience. The series also offers some action figure variant covers for those are really into this series and the artwork. Top to bottom the artistic choices are fantastic.
"Spread" is not a comic book for everyone. It's a bloody display that pushes every limit horror comics ever hit up against. The story follows a couple of characters as they seem to hold the cure (or is it death?) of the monsters in the form of a baby. Of course nothing is straightforward and they run into a few nasty characters along the way. The book has strong characters, a solid plot and magnificent artwork. The series just started its second arc with the eighth issue and this looks to be a good time to get in on the series. This is one that you don't want to miss if you like apocalyptic stories or are fans of the horror genre.
5 out of 5 Geek Goggles