News came to us back in February of horror comic book The School of The Damned from John Farman at Black Hearted Press and after reading the first issue, I was eager to get my hands on the second instalment…
Issue #1 set the scene with the following:
“It is 1936 and in eastern Europe German soldiers approach a school run by Count Orlok. The Count invites Major Von Stroheim in to discuss the location of Gabriel Utterson, an Englishman that the Germans have been hunting for through the travelling freak shows of Europe. However as some of the school’s pupils guide the soldiers through the dark marshland towards Utterson’s cottage, the Nazi’s discover that there is more to the school than they had been lead to believe.”
In issue #2 of The School of the Damned, Farman continues to develop his characters and their interactions with each other, while concurrently developing the main storyline and sub-plots admirably. The trials and tribulations endured by the pupils of the school are akin to those seen in many stories based around academia: snobbery, social division, young love and so on. However, given the nature of the scholars here, the matters at hand are a little more sinister. In fact, it is as if Farman has transplanted the cream of the classic movie monster crop into Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters from the X-men universe. This may seem a little contrived but I promise you, this works. The front cover is not marked “Parental Advisory: Mature Content” for nothing! Mutilated corpses, an autopsy, exsanguination and a swordfight all appear within the first few pages!
Farman continues to use the Nazis as an arrogant, malevolent force and has yet to reveal their true plans…
Issue #2 sees a change in artists (Canadian Jason Mathis stepping up to the plate) and noticeable style; but not so much so as to detract from the feel of proceedings and with no discernible change in quality. For all intents and purposes, this has been a seamless handover.
Those familiar with my reviews will know that I hate revealing too much about a storyline for fear of robbing a work of its potency; but I can say that this issue of The School of The Damned sees the introduction of another character whose name hints at a particularly notable lineage and in issue #3, we are promised the return of some heavyweight genre legends!
There’s no other way to put it, fiends: I simply cannot wait.