WRAITH #1 tells the story of Charlie Manx, a man who had a rough upbringing and later invested in an amusement park through a local swindler.
Writer Joe Hill has a lot of experience in the horror department. He's an experienced horror novelist and writes one of the best horror comics on the shelves, LOCKE & KEY. This book is extremely unsettling. It's not over-the-top and filled with gross-out violence or unmentionable acts, but the characters and the things happening to them become very hard-to-read and not because the writing is in any way "bad," but because it's frankly just creepy.
Part of that creepy tone is the art work from Charles Paul Wilson III and colors by Jay Fotos. The book is pretty heavy with the inking and the colors are a bit saturated. His art has a very cool style that really adds to the horror element, especially with how he draws Manx's children towards the end. Their smiles are very unsettling.
What WRAITH does pretty darn well is get the reader interested for the rest of this mini-series. The story is just so weird and a bit out there, that you'll really want to hop on board for the rest of the issues just to see where in the heck it's going.
I struggled what to make of this book. There is an overall uneasy feeling of just not knowing if I really like it. There's aspects that are fantastic of the book, but as far as first issues go, it really didn't grab me. I didn't know anything about the solicits, prior to reading, so this was a blind dive into the new series, based solely on the fact that Joe Hill's work on LOCKE & KEY is genius.
WRAITH is actually an off-shoot of Hill's novel NOS4A2, and this series tries to be one that is engaging for those who have read his novel as well as fresh readers. I'm not entirely sure if it accomplishes that. Without a doubt, this does make me interested enough in NOS4A2 to want to give that a read as well.
There's no time in the past four years I've been reviewing books where I've come across a case of reading an issue that had me feeling so unsure about it. WRAITH made me feel a bit lost. It's like I was invited to a party, but knew no one there. Everyone else seemed to be getting along, but I stood in the corner. When it really boils down to it though, this is a really interesting issue, enough so where even though I feel lost, I'd say it's pretty darn good. Most importantly, I WANT to continue reading it. I'm usually not at a loss for words when I review a comic, but I am with WRAITH, but I consider it a good thing. WRAITH is a weird book and it left a weird impression on me. Overall, I highly recommend this issue.