Fisher, Alan Fisher. From Toledo
Our protagonist young Jack learns the ins and outs of riding the rails the hard way and catches the eye of "The Salesman".
The beauty of Futaki's art cannot be overstated when discussing this series. His art perfectly captures the spirit of the times and he's equally as responsible for telling this story as Snyder and Tuft. If I had to point out one chief strength of his work it would be the way his figures so expressively emote.
This issue we're introduced to Sam, a character which serves as the Artful Dodger to jack's Oliver Twist. Snyder and Tuft do a great job enlivening both characters with loads of personality. These two play off each other well and I look forward to seeing them play off one another as the story progresses, especially after the reveal on Sam early in the story.
People wanted a bit more explicit horror in the first issue, which I understand. Personally, I dig the heavy atmosphere and slow pacing of this story. For those that wanted a more straightforward scare they'll get it this issue. The fate of poor little Fredrick is revealed early on and it is not pretty. They don't go with the cheap scare though, it's still immediately chilling but Futaki's reserved approach shows us just enough to make our mind fill in the blanks for themselves.
Very few writers right kids well, especially adolescents. Luckily this book is one of the very rare exceptions to the rule. Snyder and Tuft perfectly capture that self-assured confidence that few of us hold onto after adulthood hits. Jack's "okay, let's do it!" attitude perfectly reflects his age and the spirit of the times. He has unshakable belief in his own invincibility, and I can't wait to see how he deals with that illusion being shattered.
I'm a big fan of period pieces and a huge history buff. The Minstrel show scene in Chicago was a very nice touch that shows that the Scotts have definitely done their research quite well for this book.
The Salesman is truly, truly frightening. There's an almost spiritual quality to his evil. His singular focus, his ability to transform as his prey dictates, and his utter normalcy makes him a truly horrifying , Unsettling entity. This man (?) conjures up all those primal fears of boogeymen and big bad wolves. And his "hall of fame"...yeah, creeeeeeeeepy!!!!
One of my biggest pet peeves is using the threat/act of rape to establish how evil a character is. I think it's just flat out wrong and I'm disappointed in Snyder/Tuft for falling back on said trope. You guy's are better than this.
This book is a slow burner and that will definitely put people off. To use a film analogy, this is Seven and not Friday the 13th.
How could I not rule this a buy? Seriously, Futaki's art alone is worth the price of admission, but Snyder/Tuft are definitely doing some great writing. If you have the patience I predicate the pay off will be well worth the wait.