Story by: Joe Hill
Adapted by: David M. Booher
Art by: Zoe Thorogood
Colours by: Chris O’Halloran
Letters by: Shawn Lee
It only takes a few minutes to change those living on Jackdaw Street forever.
A beautiful clear blue sky suddenly gives way to a storm of crystal nails which tear through just about everything in their path to the ground.
From the opening panels and Honeysuckle’s narration it’s clear that something terrible is lurking in the wings…or the clouds, waiting to tear her world apart. It’s a classic ‘everything’s about to change’ setup, but it works well here. I mean, it’s a Joe Hill story, chances are something terrible was likely to happen.
This has a very classic horror feel, the kind of thing you’d find in a short stories collection somewhere, or catch in an anthology series or film. In fact you’d be most likely to turn it up in Joe Hill’s 2017 collection of four novellas Strange Weather. Sometimes I’m sceptical when there’s a big name on the cover of a comic who isn’t actually doing the writing. In this case Joe Hill, who has a history of celebrated horror comics in his bibliography, so it feels strange that he isn’t writing this issue. However, I’m pleased to say that David M. Booher’s writing does really work. As a protagonist, Honeysuckle is wonderfully written and her narration feels both grounded and relatable. In fact, Booher’s writing shines throughout. I think it’s essential for a horror book to have a sense of humour and there’s definitely a few moments of comedy in Rain, at least until the terrible things start happening. It’s something that helps make the characters more believable, which is also a horror essential; if you’re not invested in the characters as real people, it’s not easy to care about the nightmares in their not so distant future. There’s a great effort made here with each character, and taking the time to introduce just about every resident on Honeysuckle’s street makes the world feel more tangible.
Zoe Thorogood’s artwork is nice throughout, but I really feel like ‘nice’ isn’t the word I should be banding around when it comes to a horror comic. In this case, the artwork’s ability to seamlessly weave between gorgeous landscapes, cute relationship details and unstoppable bursts of horror really adds to the storytelling. The harsh contrast makes the shower of glass needles all the more terrifying. Also, the cover for this issue is gorgeous too.
Chris O’Halloran’s colouring works great, making the bright Colorado day feel as perfect as it’s being described in the narration, only to slip easily into a more minimalist colour palette to better draw focus to the terrifying events from later in the issue.
Shawn Lee’s lettering is on point throughout the issue, Honeysuckle’s narration feels like a handwritten journal talking about Yolanda without ever slipping into unreadable script territory. His sound effects also work really well, never overwhelming the scene but contributing to every panel they appear in.
My immediate comparison for Rain would be to Junji Ito’s short stories, there’s just something about the ‘sudden terrifying event that defies all logic and might never get an explanation’ type of horror that immediately makes me think of his work. But don’t get me wrong, I mean that in the best possible way.
Rain #1 establishes a world where horrific events can happen at a moment’s notice, but the creative team also work together to create an intriguing cast of characters who will be forced to face the world they now find themselves in. If you’re into horror comics I think you’ll have a good time with this first issue, and if you’re not into horror but you are into great artwork I’d recommend picking this up too.