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‘I Hate This Place: Vol. 1’ (review)

Written by Kyle Starks
Art by Artyom Toplin
Published by Image Comics


I Hate This Place by Kyle Starks, and Artyom Toplin represents everything I love about independent comics.  Without years of continuity to weigh them down, Starks and Toplin deliver a horror story that is a blend of genres, family drama, demonic possession, true crime, alien invasions, ghost story, comedy, and romance.

Like any good horror story, the premise is simple, city girls and lovers Trudy and Gabby are ready to start the next chapter of their lives together on a remote farm left to them by Gabby’s deceased aunt and uncle.

Unfortunately, the farm is a nexus of paranormal activity and is the playground of poltergeists, demons, ghosts, and aliens. Now the pair of lovers must learn to play by the “house rules” as left on a cryptic VHS tape to survive some of the terrifying creatures in this reality and the next!

Volume 1 collects issues one through five of this frenetic series. I love this book because Starks and Toplin throw everything at the wall, and it sticks.

Starks’ writing is brisk and unburdened; he is not weighed down by heavy or cryptic prose. His characters are relatable and believable. As the villains and threats piled up, I never felt the story was becoming overburdened or too complex to follow.

Toplin’s art is a compliment to Starks’ prose. It is gritty and cartoony in a way that emphasizes the plight of our two heroines. Trudy and Gabby are both drawn as capable athletic women, and Trudy, raised by a group of survivalists and currently on the run from her family, has a muscular physique that leaps off the page.

I Hate This Place: Vol.1 is easily the most engaging comic I have read in the last month, and it is one helluva joyride. I suggest any reader looking for something fun and offbeat fall in love with this beautiful work of art.

Final Score: 5 out of 5


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