The first thing that’s going to catch your attention is that title. I know even I kind of wondered what I was going to get with this story. Knowing Broken Icon Comics though I knew that the title had to be intentional and serve a purpose. Well it does, but we’ll get to that in just a second. The story starts off in a normal home with a little girl singing “Mocking Bird.” Her mother has a tray of food which gives a clear indication that our little tike isn’t feeling good. When our mom reaches the threshold of the girl’s room she screams for her husband and drops the food. The little girl… she continues to sing “Mocking Bird.” As the panels zoom in we see what’s wrong with her and it’s probably her all white eyes that are bleeding blood that has the mom concerned. The father remains calm and calls the CDC which gives some indication that this isn’t the first little girl with all white bleeding eyes.
A short while later we meet our main character Joe. I’m fairly certain that he’s a reporter though it’s never said outright. He’s following the story of the viral outbreaks that are only affecting sick little girls. They all turn pale white and their eyes also turn white; then thick blood streams out their eyes to make things gross. He talks to a CDC worker off the record and finds out that they’re stumped on what’s going on. He manages to talk to the parents for a moment and they give him a bit of new information. Apparently the girl kept saying something about a man in a kitty coat.
So there’s your title and now it makes more sense because it’s from a child’s perspective. It doesn’t explain what it means, but suddenly the title is very fitting and kind of a mystery in and of itself.
That is what this series is, a mystery. We learn very little about the outbreak, but through the course of the story Joe learns more than what was known previously in the world. Eric Watkins manages to set your brain on fire trying to figure out what exactly this kid is talking about because its face value doesn’t make any sense. I’m sure it’ll click after the first time we see the man, but who knows when that will happen. I thought Watkins did a hell of a job on taking something simple and making it complex through the eyes of a child.
The story is good and pretty believable for the most part. I think in real life the CDC is a little more hardcore than they are in the story, but then they’re not really the focus either. The dialogue for the most part is good, but when Joe talks to himself it came across more as exposition than scared chatter as it was intended to be.
The art is in all black & white which is a good fit. Really the only thing about the sick girls that doesn’t come across is the paling of the skin and that doesn’t break the story. Otherwise the kids that are shown are pretty damn creepy. There’s a great scene in which Joe is caught using a lighter and a little girl blows it out. If I saw that shit in a movie I would have pooped my pants, but with it being a comic I only gave out a verbal “holy shit.” Kevin Steward is the perfect fit for the story and makes it very thrilling.
I’m really hooked on this mystery. This is the type of story that pisses you off because you want to read more and you can’t. There’s a horror element to the story for sure, but at its heart this story is a thriller and I can’t remember the last time I read a comic that was a thriller. It’s a difficult genre to do as a comic, but the creative team is off to a great start with The Man in the Kitty Coat.
Writer: Eric Watkins Artist: Kevin Steward Publisher: Broken Icon Comics Website