This week, I got caught up on Echoes, a new series from Top Cow that’s three issues in. You should do the same. Start with this review.
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Rahsan Ekedal
Brian Cohn’s life kind of sucks right now. His wife is pregnant, but he doesn’t have a job. His schizophrenia, which he’s trying to control with medication, seems to be getting more severe. Worst of all, he tried to make peace with his deadbeat father on dad’s deathbed, but the old man managed to mess everything up one last time by sending Brian to the crawl space of his old house to find something that’s been left behind. Old love notes, perhaps? No, tiny hand-made dolls fashioned from the clothes, skin, and bones of the numerous little girls that Old Man Cohn murdered.
That was just the premise of the first issue of Echoes, a super-creepy horror series from Top Cow that launched last December. I thought that was pretty disturbing, but things got even more messed up in the second and third issues. It seems that ever-worsening schizophrenia might not be the only thing Brian inherited from his father; suddenly, he finds himself hanging out at playgrounds, not being able to remember blocks of time, and wondering exactly what sick things he’s capable of. This is not going to end well.
Though the third issue didn’t progress the story as much as the second, it did give the reader a fairly good idea of the turmoil within Brian’s head. Dealing with the stress of a pregnant wife, the recent death of his father, the aforementioned severe mental disorder, and all of those little bone-and-skin dolls, his grip on reality is loosening. He wants to be a good man, a good husband, but is that even possible? Is he destined to follow in his father’s shoes, or can he change his fate? Does it even matter anymore, or is it too late?
It’s hard to take anything at face value knowing that Brian’s schizophrenia makes him see and hear things that aren’t there, but I certainly want to know where this story is going. At the end of every issue, I couldn’t wait to read the next, and that’s a compliment to writer Joshua Hale Fialkov. The subject matter is a little disturbing, but artist Rahsan Ekedal manages to handle the tone of the story without gratuitous gore. In fact, the black-and-white pages do a really great job of showing, rather than telling, Brian’s mindset; the more things going on in the panel, the more his schizophrenia and fear are taking over, making it harder to think clearly. It’s a good example of a writer and artist working together to create a tense, creepy plot without stepping on each other’s toes.
I may be a little behind on reviewing the first three issues of Echoes, but I’ll be back on track for number four, which should be out later this month. Not only is it totally different from most of Top Cow’s books, which is refreshing, but it’s one of the few comics able to leave me feeling totally creeped out without using blood, guts, flying limbs, decapitations, and general excessive gore. You should also get caught up on Echoes this month.