The covers: A lucky seven for fans to find. The Main cover is by Phil Noto with Abbie and Ichabod running through a forest as a gigantic Headless Horsemen is behind them, holding two automatic pistols in their direction, both barrels glowing orange. It’s a good image, but it’s too dark and extremely difficult to make out much of this imagery. The Variant cover is by interior artist Jorge Coelho with colors by Matthew Wilson. This is a fantastic image through the legs of the Horsemen, with a distant Ichabod and Abbie looking upon him. Great point of view shot and super coloring. This is one to track down. The New York Comic Con Exclusive is by Noelle Stevenson, who does a two page story inside this issue. This is also a cool cover, with our heroes running through the forest. I love the coloring and the composition. I would love to see Stevenson do an entire issue on her own. The BOOM! Studios Exclusive is by Kevin Wada with Abbie being front and center on this daytime scene against a pink sky. She looks great, but Ichabod looks off. The background is solid, and I really like that sky. Kris Anka does the Collector’s Paradise/Jetpack Comics Exclusive. This cover is exclusively on Abbie, who seems to be caught in an orange light. She holds her right hand up to block the light, but also showcase her gun, while in her left she holds an axe. I originally thought this was Buffy Summers, but Abbie looks good. The Rupp’s Comics Exclusive is by Corbyn S. Kern with really sweet busts of the leads and an antagonist below in silhouette. The yellows make this a stand out. The final cover is the Phantom Variant designed by Jillian Crab and it’s a photo cover of Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie. I’m a big fan of photo covers and this impresses. Overall grades: Main C+, Variant A+, NYComic Con A+, BOOM! B, CP/JC A-, Rupp’s A, and Phantom A+
The story: This is a good self-contained introductory issue from Marguerite Bennett. The book begins in a pottery studio with a blind woman working away at a potter’s wheel. A sudden burst of flame from the fireplace occurs, making her clutch at her eyes. Slowly pulling down her hands, she realizes she can see. It’s a miracle. Meanwhile, at Angelina’s Bakery, Ichabod and Abbie are getting some cupcakes and they exchange some fun words that seem straight out of an episode. However, odd things are going on at Deconnick Park. A girl reads her book near a rose bush while her younger brother plays with a remote control car. The park’s sprinklers come on, causing the girl to get up, just avoiding the plant’s flowers which are writhing behind her. They hiss and emit some powder onto her. She then wakes up, under the plant, not knowing what’s happened. She hears her brother scream from a distance and something happens. This girl becomes of interest to the police after something happens, and Ichabod and Abbie find a cause for concern. There’s some nice tension in this tale, with supernatural events getting grander as the story progresses. How Ichabod and Abbie find a solution to the troubles is quick, but on a par with how conflicts are solved in an episode of the series. The final event seemed very Roger Corman, and Ichabod’s contribution somewhat humorous, as he cites the influence of a famous American who appeared in the opening two episodes of the current season. All is resolved with one small tease for a larger plotline. An enjoyable story, but absent of any major heavies. Overall grade: B
The art: I enjoyed the art by Jorge Coelho. His visuals aren’t photo realistic and they’re not cartoony, but somewhere in the middle. He has smartly created his own interpretation of the leads and they look super. I’m most taken by Crane with his long head and perfectly stringy hair. Abbie is much more realistic looking, but is still a unique version of Beharie. Coelho also has the mannerisms of the characters down, with their posture while researching or just relaxing excellent. The other characters look good, though I thought that the supernatural characters at the end of the story were too cartoony. The backgrounds are really well done, with no detail seemingly spared. I was very impressed with the cabin’s interiors and the forests. The action is also very fluid, with Page 6 being outstanding. Coelho is a good fit for this book. There are also two pages that are a story unto themselves from Noelle Stevenson. Her style is very cartoony, but worked for the story which made me laugh. I’d welcome more of her contributions any day. Overall grades: Both A+
The colors: This book is set primarily in the dark, but nothing is lost by the dark coloring. Tamra Bonvillain knows exactly what to make black, what to highlight, and what to completely reveal. The opening page in the pottery studio is an excellent example of this, which is creepy, but uses color to highlight the ending miracle. The park sequences are beautiful in orange and yellow, and the blues in the climax also sweet. An outstanding job. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Whistling, dialogue, sounds, and supernatural creatures’ speak is accomplished by Jim Campbell’s skill. I was very pleased to have the supernatural entities have their own unique font to make them “sound” different from humans. Overall grade: A
The final line: A good start that mirrors a typical episode and is an outstanding gateway book to the television series for readers that haven’t watched it. Overall grade: A-
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.