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REVIEW: The Accursed #1

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REVIEW: The Accursed #1

3.46/5.0 Stars

Creative Team 

Writer: Mark Fenton
Artist: David Camescasse, Hector Negrete
Editor: Mark Fenton
Publisher: Mark Fenton

Ratings 

Story: 3.5 Stars
Interior Artwork: 3.8 Stars
Cover Artwork: 3.8 Stars
Dialogue: 3.0 Stars
Mechanics: 3.5 Stars
Editing: 3.2 Stars

About the Book:

The Accursed is the first installment in a story of a brother and sister who are  into the  monster slaying business. Their characters are however very different, he is more circumspect -or cowardly according to the judgment of some.  His sister is presumably around his age but has been cursed (the Accursed of the title?) into permanent childhood. She has a much more direct, ‘bull in a china shop’ type approach to their work and seems to be the one doing the fighting.

As we catch up with the tale the siblings  are in pursuit of the Hedge Witch, the antagonist of the story  and seemingly a long term enemy of the siblings and their family. The tone and background of The Accursed reminded me of the film Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters but set in the modern day rather than a fairy world,  certainly the monsters in this story are in the open and interacting freely with humans.

As noted the siblings are after the Hedge Witch but at the start of the story we see them  having been  set up by some unnamed informant. Instead of the Witch they were faced by a Harpy who was eager to devour them. Never having come up against one of these the pair only just manage to escape and  the sister determines to find out why they were set up and how the witch manages to keep evading them.  She knows  that a vampire nightclub owner who has some history with our plucky protagonist’s family (mother to be exact) will have the answers and thinks he will be willing to give the information over as he is also an enemy to the witch.  After a tense confrontation with the vamp during which we learn some backstory to the siblings family there is a trade-off of kinds and the protagonists gain a key piece of information about the Hedge Witch that helps  explain her elusiveness and suggests how they may  attack her in the future.

Subsequent to this however tensions between the brother and his cursed perpetual childhood sister re-emerge  and they disagree on tactics to the extent that the sister decides to abandon the joint effort with her brother and go it alone.

We leave the story with the brother speeding off in the van and his sister stamping off on foot only to be attacked by some kind of tentacled monster hiding in a storm drain.

At the close of play there are several issues to be resolved, aside from the  main one of the siblings killing the witch; will the brother return to rescue his sister? Will she fight off the latest monster herself? Will the siblings end up back as a team or go it solo?

Reviewer’s Notes:

The Accursed is a clear human heroes versus monster actioner but as well as that   conflict and almost at the same level of ferocity is the abrasive relationship  between the siblings or rather angry sis with her more sedate brother and for that matter any other character she is interacting with. Sis is full throttle every time and it is her fly off the handle fury that injects so much energy and pace into the story.

There’s a lot she has to be angry about, her parents have met an untimely end, it seems at the hands of some monster, maybe the vampire; it’s not clear. What is clear is the Witch has cursed  sis to perpetual childhood and that really makes her angry. In short, the sisters’ motivation is really easy to see. What’s not so clear is why the brother has such a different reaction, more or less wanting to walk away from the enterprise.

Nonetheless the stories kickass from the get go energy does effectively sweep the reader right into those everyday monsters in the open type world where the conflicts are obvious and violent.

Exposition was steadily fed into the story from the characters dialogues though this was a bit uneven at times. For example the siblings didn’t seem to know who gave them the initial dodgy tip and went to the vamp for intel rather than the  said source of the tip which nearly led to them being Harpy fodder. Despite the Witch being a long standing enemy they didn’t seem to have built up much meaningful intelligence on her.

We did see a little bit of the Hedge Witch and her motivation and methodology was clear and in line with her character.

We didn’t see any flashbacks, which may have been an effective way of unpacking the siblings’ family history but some interesting sub-plots were hinted at in the mothers relationship with the vampire  and maybe the siblings’ rocky relationship.

The characters’ personas stayed the same throughout. No one was transformed but this is issue 1 and things are set up well for potential character arcs in future  issues so long as sis develops some self-reflection which isn’t on the cards at the moment.

The dialogue was fast paced, angry and energetic though maybe a bit uneven at times.

One big thing that didn’t help was we didn’t get anyone’s name. The siblings family name was Starking but that was it and this omission did make the characters a bit more remote to me.

The art was in black and white but its vibrancy and energy were well conveyed and matched the pace of the plotline. There was no cover on the copy I received so I used the internal page with the title on to judge that.

In summary the energy of the story made it easy for me as a reader to become immersed into that world. Characters were very clear and readily identified and their conflicts obvious. The ending left things nicely balanced for future developments and I’d be interested in reading more of this story in future issues

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Since I was a young child I enjoyed painting and drawing, it’s a wonderful means of self-expression. Equally, I have a long-standing interest in the sci-fi and horror genres. I post regularly on Instagram as gritstonearts. My current postings are from my first attempt at a slipstream-based graphic novel, First Person Revocation.

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