Story: John Lees, Tyler James
Art: Iain Laurie, Alex Cormack
Colours: Megan Wilson, Jules Rivera
Letters: Colin Bell, Tyler James
Prequels are a dangerous business, many are the by-products of a writers notes when creating books and films, all part of the process of creating characters, the who’s and whys of what makes them, not fully realised stories but scraps of information to build from, so when fans are clamouring for more stories of their heroes this is often where writers dip back, often with disastrous results. However there has been a trend of late were this is not the case, especially in the horror genre, with movies like Paranormal Activity and The Conjuring actually taking care in creating arcs, producing a single product but leaving in enough threads to create more from the same world so when news of an issue zero of the acclaimed And Then Emily Was Gone was dropping on Free Comic Book Day, excitement was tainted by trepidation, but really, there was nothing to worry about, other than more nightmares.
And Then Emily Was Gone quickly became one of my favourite horror tales when it was released last year, a comic that managed to the echo classic horror books and shows I watched as a youngster but at the same time keeping up to date and relevant, it was easily one of last year’s stand out books, creating a terrifying world full of familiar feelings and visuals and then turning them into images that stayed with you long after you put the book down.
In just a scant few pages, And Then Emily Was Gone shows that the team are still in the zone, this issue zero almost as perfect as the first, knowing its audience and getting what a prequel is all about; there is no doubt you should really read the amazing main story first as to build the perfect tension, but even without, this issue gives the reader a terrifying glimpse as to what Bonnie Shaw is all about; if Emily was a love letter to those classic and obscure 60’s and 70’s horror shows, The Strange Case of Billy McTaggart is like a fairy tale, but more The Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault than the saccharine Disney, showing again that the horror is down to how you perceive it, who is worse, the monstrous Bonnie Shaw that lurks outside your window with his jagged teeth and black eyes or is there a greater evil closer to home. This short tale offers a brief glimpse into what to expect but that does not prepare you for the full extent of the final product and for that you will have to grab the previously released trade paperback, which I highly recommend.
A surprise bonus to this free comic is the second story Counterclockwise, a brief showcase to a character I have had no previous knowledge of but am now converted if the future issues are anything like this, introducing new readers to the demented Oxymoron, a white mask wearing maniac that puts the Joker to shame as he hatches a new scheme that requires a specific set of powers, resulting on him taking on an aged super criminal; but things are not quite as they seem and the resulting reveal makes for what is sure to be a violent and hilarious riot. Though a very different style to the first tale in this book, the writing and art and both fantastic and puts many of the “big two’s” publications to shame.
It goes without saying this free comic is certainly not one for the kids and is a strong reminder as to why comics can be so good, so when grabbing the new Rocket Racoon or My Little Pony for the kids make sure to pick up a copy of And Then Emily Was Gone #0 for yourself.
You can check out our review of the trade paperback of And Then Emily Was Gone here.