Words: Peter Milligan
Art: Sally Cantarino
Colors: Dearbhla Kelly
Letters: AndWorld Designs
Human Remains is the kind of comic that hurts to read. It’s a good kind of hurt, mind you, but it hurts nonetheless.
To me, Human Remains is the opposite of the usual Peter Milligan comic. It’s not that it doesn’t have his trademark dialog or that the plotting isn’t excellent – it’s there and it is, respectively – but rather that the emotions are so forcefully muted. That’s the crux of this story, though; a world in which emotional outbursts can kill you is one in which everything is forced to bubble under the surface.
If you haven’t already been reading this excellent book, it’s hard to say that #5 is a good point at which you can jump on. The story’s already moving at pace, the characters established and the premise beyond the point of explanation. With that said, it only takes a moment to dig into the muted horror of the world. Milligan has always been excellent at creating an atmosphere, but the kind of dread at work here legitimately hits you even if you don’t fully get what is going on. [Editor’s Note: While I agree with the jumping on point aspect, I also think this story is great and you’ll probably want to read this one. Maybe hunt down the back issues? – Chris]
Ably working with Milligan here are Sally Cantirino on pencils and Dearbhla Kelly on colors. Cantirino’s art actually plays a huge role in the story, stylized to the point where the gore isn’t gut-wrenching but still (purposefully) ugly in a way that sells the world. Likewise, Kelly’s use of color, which can swing from washed-out to otherworldly across a few panels – helps to make everything in the book feel just unsettling enough to work.
If you’re looking for a horror comic that depends more on slow dread than on splashy scares, give this one a try. It actually has both, but it’s the former source of fear that really helps this comic stand out.