Writer: Lonnie Nadler
Artist: Jenna Cha
Colorist: Brad Simpson
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Vault Comics
The description for Vault’s upcoming Black Stars Above #1 reads “a horror story that’s part The Revenant and part At the Mountains of Madness.” The new cosmic horror title for the publisher’s Nightfall imprint surely lives up to its reputation.
Written by Lonnie Nadler (The Dregs, Marvelous X-Men) and illustrated by debut artist Jenna Cha, the story begins in 1887 and follows a young fur trapper, Eulalie Dubois, as she flees her overbearing family and their attempts at stifling her desire to see the world. When Eulalie encounters a stranger with a parcel that needs to be delivered to the town north of the wilderness, the girl sees it as a chance to escape from the life she’s forced to live. What she doesn’t realize is that something dark is lurking in those woods.
The vibe of the book is set right from the start. Cha’s art and the moody tones of Brad Simpson’s (Coffin Bound, Fair Lady) colors suck you right into the dark, mysterious, and treacherous landscape in which the tale is set. Even before Eulalie sets out on her journey, there is an overwhelming creepiness woven into every panel. You even feel the chill of the winter storm as you turn each page. Combined with letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s (Test, Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt) font choices, you are transported to a dangerous world with secrets hiding in every shadow.
There is a Lovecraftian feel to the story. The horrors are unseen and the dreary backdrop adds to the uneasiness and bleakness of it all. There are threats everywhere, both natural and cosmic, and as Eulalie sets out on her own, you feel a tightness in your chest just knowing this will not be an easy trek into the unknown.
The horror in Black Stars Above #1 is subtle yet effective. I’m excited to see where this plot goes from here and what Eulalie will encounter along the way.