REVIEW: Haunt You to the End #2

Haunt You to the End #2 from Image Comics, written by experienced hand Ryan Cady, is another in a long line of horror works (see the Skipp and Spector novel The Cleanup from 1987 as an early example) that blend horror and environmental catastrophe. And boy oh boy, has the world really hit the wall in this series!

Cover for Haunt me to the end #2Callum Shah, an eccentric billionaire (can’t one of these people be normal?) is on the hunt for proof of life after death, amidst worldwide ecological catastrophe. And, given what we see of the end of the world in Haunt You to the End #2, a non-corporeal existence may be preferable to the cancer riddled, flooded, nightmare planet we see depicted in this issue.

Most of everyone in this series is along for the ride, mainly to be fed and protected while the planet turns to hell in a handbasket. The world depicted in Haunt You to the End #2 is a flooded out, refugee ridden wreck, the sad culmination of thousands of years of neglect and abuse. Shah’s search for life after death as a way of escaping the hellscape he and others of his ilk helped create with their rapacity and self indulgence is yet another example of the lack of understanding and foresight in all their endeavours.  Sure, you can put people on Mars, but what’s the point? Similarly, we might all like the idea of floating around playing harps in a cloud filled wonderland, but again, what’s the point?

Of course, when there is a believer (and his enabling padre, Domingo Sandoval) there are non-believers, in this case the cynical Suzanne ‘Gersh’ Gershwinn and her merry band of soldiers hired on by Shah to provide security while he and his team investigate two haunted locales – the Manor and the Derricks. So far these characters fill their niche within the story – to be hard bitten, or cynical, or both, essentially cannon fodder and plot advancers, as the story requires. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is enough to drop the rating on this story a couple of points, mainly because it is the sort of thing we’ve all seen and read before.

And this is where the real strengths of Haunt You to the End #2, the artist Andrea Mutti, comes to the fore. To be sure, the writing is average at best – when you are dealing with stereotypes, the writing does have a ‘been there, done that’ feel. But the artwork, with its tentative line work, excellent use of smoke effects, and the tumbledown feel not only of the Manor, but of the very surroundings themselves, taps ably into the theme of dissolution and what might lie just beyond the veil of existence, more so than the writing itself.

Mutti’s artwork really comes to the fore when the journalist character, Matt Park, has an encounter with the ineffable in the one truly memorable scene in Haunt You to the End #2. Some artists would go to great lengths to depict what Park sees in all its grotesque glory – instead, Mutti gives the reader just enough of a hint of what Park is glimpsing, and no more. In that way, Mutti relies on the overactive imagination of the reader to fill in the gaps of what has been suggested, enough to convey the true horror of what is only hinted at on the page. It demonstrates Mutti’s skill to the fullest.

Haunt You to the End #2 is an enjoyable, if slight romp. Shah’s ultimate aim is unknown, but on the face of it, writer Matt Cady is having some fun at the expense of those tech billionaire’s tinkering with your favourite social media sites. The set up, of a world heading for the gurgler, is not unique in horror, the artwork used to depict it is top notch, and worth buying the issue alone.

Read Haunt You to the End #2

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Robert Mammone

Robert Mammone

Robert Mammone reviewed comics for two years for the Major Spoilers website and has reviewed DVD and blu ray releases for Impulse Gamer since 2013. Reviewing aside, Rob dabbles in writing genre fiction.

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