REVIEW: 'The Plot' #1 by Michael Moreci, Tim Daniel, Josh Hixson, and Jordan Boyd
In order to receive... First you must give. When Chase Blaine's estranged brother and sister-in-law are murdered, he becomes guardian to McKenzie and Zach, the niece and nephew he hardly knows. Seeking stability for the children, Chase moves his newly formed family to his ancestral home in Cape Augusta... which overlooks a deep, black bogland teeming with family secrets.
THE PLOT #1
Writer: Michael Moreci, Tim Daniel
Artists: Josh Hixson, Jordan Boyd
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Vault Comics
Release Date: September 25, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★★ (5/5)
Michael Moreci and Tim Daniel have written a frightening new comic steeped in dark family secrets. Artists Josh Hixson and Jordan Boyd have painted a haunting new canvas that's unnerving and shocking. It's the perfect launching point for Vault Comics' seasonal horror imprint Nightfall. They've set the bar very high and surpassed expectations with 'The Plot.'
As any reader of Stephen King novels knows, nothing good happens in Maine and such is the case in Cape Augusta. It's the location of Chase Blaine's ancestral home. He returns with his niece and nephew after the grisly murder of his brother and sister-in-law. He's lived in his brother's shadow and as the ne'er-do-well son of the family patriarch. With little alternatives, he brings them to Maine to the spacious but neglected estate that holds secrets and monsters.
The character-driven story smartly introduces us to the players revealing their personalities, motivations, and short-comings before the first jump-scare. Moreci and Daniel understand that if the characters aren't relatable or interesting then it doesn't matter what happens to them because the reader isn't invested in any way. They make sure the set up is informative without the use of exposition. It's the interaction between the characters and the dialogue that propels the story forward with some unexpected supernatural events that go off like a bomb. It's a legit horror comic but the writing is so good that 'The Plot' could exist and thrive as merely a family drama. It's that good.
Josh Hixson won't let you forget that not everything is rosy in Maine. His atmospheric art conveys the tension between characters through stern emotional expressions. The shadows and pacing of panels make every action deliberate and anxiety-filled. Jordan Boyd's colors are dark but muted creating a somber tone throughout even in daylight. It's the perfect mix of cinematic plotting and choreographed human drama from artists with a director's eye. You could use issue one as the storyboard and shoot the film adaptation tomorrow.
'The Plot' #1 is a stellar debut. It's the gold standard in modern horror comics. There's expertise and quality to this newest Vault title that is clearly visible on every page. It's compelling and shocking. With a dysfunctional family at its center and all the manifestations of dark secrets coming to the surface it's a fascinating and slow descent into murder and mayhem. This is just the beginning so don't miss it.