A few years ago I remember watching a horror film called The Hollow Man, in which Kevin Bacon was experimented on, turned invisible and went on a murderous rampage on the people who made him the man that he was. The film was pretty sub-par, but the main thing I remember thinking after I watched it was, ‘Damn! An invisible/corporeal killer is creepy!’ and as I read UK indie publishing giant Markosia’s first issue of Toxic Storm, that’s the thought I’m coming back to.
Simon Fisher has hit the lowest of the low. After a bad break-up with a crazy ex-girlfriend, he’s unceremoniously thrown in jail for five years, at the behest of one extremely dodgy judge. While he’s in jail, he makes friends with his cellmate, a mysterious occultist named Caleb Fontana, who not only watches out for Simon, Caleb also teaches him the ins and outs of black magic- a theme that becomes central to the book. Meanwhile, in a revenge scheme, Caleb and Simon cause the death of one of their fellow inmates who had been tormenting them, and later, Caleb is stabbed to death with the blame landing on Simon’s feet. Simon is found guilty and sentenced to death, and while he’s on death row for five long years, he masters the occult magicks left to him by Caleb, and when he is finally put to death, he casts a spell that transforms his body into a corporeal, gas form, and from here, he attempts to get revenge on those who have wronged him before committing himself to an insane asylum under the care of Dr Susan Parsons.
A heavy, intense read, writer Adam Cheal’s Toxic Storm is something different in the Indie market. Clearly taking influences from the horrific-but-hard-to-avoid 80s video nasties, as well as a whole variety of horror films, making it a truly terrifying and electric read… if you’re a horror fan like I am! The writing style throughout is very enjoyable, and Cheal creates a very interesting dynamic between Dr Parsons and Simon, in an ultimate sane vs. insane, man (or more accurately, woman) vs. monster way.
The art by Alberto “Renzo” Rodriguez is absolutely stunning, and his intrinsic details and fine lines suit the genre and style of the comic immensely, and his eye for detail, be it in facial expressions, backgrounds or something else completely, Rodriguez’s art style is hard to miss, and his big ‘reveal’ panels are works of art in their own right. His artwork is assisted by the incredible Mike Summers, whose use of colours is stunning. With Rodriguez’s pencil lines creating the intensely creepy gas-form of Simon, it is Summers’ dank, dark colours that bring it to life.
Overall, #1 of Toxic Storm is a breath of fresh air in a market that is coagulated with superhero titles. Featuring a main character who has much more in common with a supervillain as opposed to superhero, Toxic Storm #1 proves to be an epic, albeit creepy introduction to the world of men, monsters and magic, proving that revenge is never the best way forward. Rodriguez and Cheal work in an effortless tandem to create a frankly sinister but thoroughly enjoyable and unique horror comic.
You can find more information (as well as details on how to order Toxic Storm) on the official website, which is www.toxicstorm.com They’re also on Twitter, under @ToxicStormComic
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