The October Faction Volume 1 by Steve Niles, Damien Worm

October Faction Volume 1 was a study of contrasts for me. I both liked and didn’t like it; weirdly enough, it wasn’t that part was good and part was bad. Rather, that I liked and disliked the same exact thing at the same time. The art was interesting but I didn’t love it; the story never had an arc and meandered everywhere but I didn’t get annoyed; the characters seemed really distinct and yet they weren’t; the monsters felt fresh but none were. I’m not sure how to make sense of it other than to say that by the end, it just didn’t pull me in – the promise of the first few pages never materialized for me by the end.

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Story: Frederick Allan is a former monster hunter, now retired and lecturing at the local university. His kids have grown up and want to follow in their father’s footsteps – but he’s not quite sure he likes that idea. Compounding things, his former partner contracted werewolf disease and fights it every day. When his wife seeks to get his attention and lets loose an old enemy, things get fairly crazy for the everyone.

I wish the story had focused on one member of the family. We’re given small bits of each – the son and the ghosts he sees on a schoolmate, the daughter wanting more excitement, the wife feeling neglected by her once exciting husband, and the put-upon professor. We get little glimpses but never anything more from the characters. I kept expecting to see a poignant moment but it all seemed to be vignettes that never really fleshed anyone out.

I enjoyed the art – it was suitably creepy with a monochromatic tonality and rough, unfinished quality. The watercolor-like style has a dreamy, painterly feel that suits the story perfectly. Oddly enough, like the story, the art never defines the characters and so they look as sketchy as they are written. Perhaps another reason I never really felt I ‘knew’ any of the characters.

There’s not really a story arc here and some events intertwine but it felt fairly random. Perhaps things will coalesce more in future issues. But for me, I really wanted something more than we see in this first volume. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided buy the publisher.

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