Writer: Justin Jordan
Artist: Kyle Strahm
It’s like jam on a horror-fan’s toast
I’m always on the lookout for a good horror comic especially when one I’ve loved so much (Synder & Murphy’s The Wake) just finished its run. Last month Justin Jordan (Luther Strode, Dead Body Road) and Kyle Strahm introduced us to the bloody-red world of the Spread and this week the second issue of Spread hit stands. I was really on-board with the debut and was excited to see how Jordan was going to expand this world (and I still see a few #1’s in the store, so you can pick both up if you stop in this week).
In the first issue we saw the Earth is as a desolate, desperate place where not much has survived since the emergence of the Spread, a living tentacle-laden underground dwelling shape-shifting monster. Up front I want to praise Felipe Sobreiro on colors - the world is so dull and lifeless while the Spread is a stunning red - the contrast works great in this book.
The story is narrated by the future version of Hope, the baby we see on the front cover of issue 1. Shades of how one of the most popular Image books of late, Saga, is narrated (and Jordan actually calls attention to this in the notes in the back of the book) and in Spread it makes sense as our hero No (yup, Hope calls him No due to his retorts when he is confronted with the Spread or other humans that aim to kill) is a man of few words - so it would be weird to have him be all talky with the narrative while he says little in action. Its use here is not a copy or homage, but necessary and I believe it works well.
No comes across a mortally-wounded woman who begs him to retrieve “Hope” from the gang of thugs that attacked her. He makes short work of the gang and finds Hope, a little baby, but has disturbed the Spread which is now in pursuit. In the final pages of issue 1 we find the importance of the child, as its tears were able to destroy the Spread.
Issue 2 does a good job helping to get our bearings in this new Spread-full world. We get to see some more of the surviving inhabitants of Earth, a mutilated band of humans with an “untouched” charismatic leader, roaming slavers that barter for goods or humans, and a mysterious, seemingly Spread-infected man who is following No and Hope. Hope’s bodily fluids once again prove invaluable to No in another big battle with the Spread. Who ever thought baby drool could be so useful.
No and Hope also gain a new member to their party - someone that will help the wee-one survive (No’s reaction shot to this new person on the last panel of the last page is priceless). As in issue 1, Kyle Strahm kills it with the art. The Spread comes in many different varieties and the details that he puts into the interior of this book are amazing (plus the look on the baby’s face on the first issue cover is one of the cutest things I’ve seen). The contrasting colors once again show the power the Spread has verses the rest of the world.
Horror comic fans rejoice as I think we have another winner here and I can’t wait to learn what else Justin Jordan has to spread into this bleak world.