I’m always skeptical of new horror comics by people I’ve never heard of. Even when they pop up bearing the Image, DC or Wildstorm logos. Many of them are crap. They’re shitty zombie books or vastly inferior ripoffs of Hellblazer or Sandman. It’s a rare treat when I find a book like North 40 that takes a concept like Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos and not only understands it but manages to make it marketable in a comic book market saturated in cut-rate horror books that are trying to get a piece of The Walking Dead’s action.
Wildstorm’s North 40, by Aaron Williams (story) and Fiona Staples (art), concerns the fate of a backwater, Southwestern town that comes under the influence of unspeakable eldritch horrors when a book looking suspiciously like The Necronomicon is opened in a public library. The town’s inhabitants black out and come to bearing mysterious new powers or horrific physical mutations. Many freak out, many adapt and many use their power to terrorize the town. It’s up to the sherriff, who seems unaffected, to hold down the fort.
Most issue #1’s are rough affairs that waste a lot of pages trying to convince you that the people you’re reading about are people you should care about, but it’s clear that Williams has a big idea for North 40 in mind and needs to cram your eyes with every potential story arc right out of the gate. Not a page is wasted on fluff, it’s action from cover to cover and that’s the problem. Williams’ script moves a little too fast at times and even after the three issues available at this time, it’s not clear where it’s all going, but it’s at least written extremely well and hinting at cool things in the future. North 40 just needs to dig in and find some direction soon. Staples’ art is also a boon to the book. Her thin line style is distinctly anatomical and one of the book’s strongest traits.
With the price of comics these days, it’s easy to sit back and pass on unfamiliar properties but North 40 is already shaping up to be a sleeper book that people at your local comic shop are going to suggest you start reading when it’s twenty issues in. I suggest you jump on board now before it’s too late.