Okay let’s just stop right here and talk about how fucking awesome that title is… And Then Emily Was Gone. Creators John Lees and Iain Laurie grabbed my attention instantly with that title. Due to life being life I ended up being the one to review this series and I can’t complain. I’ll actually be reviewing the second issue this week as well, but after I finished the first issue I knew I couldn’t combine the issues into one review like I usually do. Instead I stopped myself and gave this first issue the respect it deserved and so here we are… solo review. And Then Emily Was Gone… it tells you everything and nothing making it absolutely brilliant. We begin somewhere else following a man named Greg as he goes through life seeing monsters instead of people. Not all people, but some people. Enough that it’s wrecked his life and made it so that he hasn’t had a moment of peaceful rest in five years; as he’s laying down for the night staring at the creature on his ceiling and muttering to himself, he receives a knock on his door. At the door is a young girl. She introduces herself as Fiona and asks for his help. She’s there because he was famous policeman that could find anyone. Greg tells her to go home since those days are behind him. Fiona tells him that she can’t because she’s runaway. She tells him about Emily, the reason she’s there and… Bonnie Shaw. That’s all I’m going to tell you though.
This is Twin Peaks if Twin Peaks was good and not just crap made up as it became convenient. The characters have depth and come across as real people no matter how strange the situation may be. Greg’s world is strange, but he seems to deal with it during the day when he must, but when he’s at home drunk and alone it wears on him. I felt so much compassion for him when he broke down and I don’t see how anyone couldn’t. Imagine seeing monsters all day long and then when you just want rest there’s one hanging above your bed? It would be draining and terrible for sure. Lees nails the story making it very interesting and mysterious, but not in a way that I feel lost. Sure I need to read more of the story to figure out anything that’s going on, but at least I know that Lees knows what’s going on.
A big part of this issues success is the artwork. Laurie’s art style is unusual, but very unique and I loved it. The strange faces the characters had are realistic in some ways and exaggerated in others. It was as if his style was at war with itself and the outcome was magnificent art that was moving and eerie all at the same time. The monsters were very much the same. There were strange and yet blended in with the world perfectly, but overall they were frightening. The original version I saw was all black & white and it worked incredibly well, but the new colored version definitely adds to the creepiness of the story. Upon reading this issue I became a fan of Iain Laurie and I hope you will as well.
You may not know how rare this comic book is and don’t mean print count or anything like that. I mean how rare it is to get a story like this in the world of comics. It’s bold; it’s different and basically goes against everything that comic readers buy in bulk. This series isn’t playing it safe, but it is playing it smart. The writing is top-notch and while I’m sure there will be people put off by the art, there will be more people like me that love it. If you start reading this series you’re going to have to pay very close attention to everything… EVERYTHING. I found a pleasant Easter egg in the legal mumbo-jumbo and that kicked off a second reading of the issue to find other things I may have missed. I’ve never read a comic like this and I doubt I’ll read many more after it which is exactly why it’s rare. It’s a comic experience that you do not want to miss out on.
Writer: John Lees Artist: Iain Laurie Colorist: Megan Wilson Publisher: ComixTribe Price: $3.50 Release Date: 7/30/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print