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‘The Cull: Vol. 1’ TPB (review)

Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Mattia De Iulis
Published by Image Comics


Kelly Thompson is one hell of a writer. She creates these far out world that demand to be read and explored.

I was really impressed with the book of hers that I read last year called Black Cloud. Everything she does is well thought out and well executed.

This book here is no different. It is sharply executed and smart, filled with plenty of scenes that will make your hair stand up. It is also as compelling as can be. I loved every single second of it.

I loved this book immediately because it starts out slow.

So many comic books like to hit you over the head with excitement right out of the gate. It is like they have to get the blood pumping quickly very time.

Not this comic.

No, this story starts off slow and it builds throughout the entire story. We do get one kind of horrific surprise at the beginning with an appearance of a kaiju. That moment is pretty horrific and gives us something to hold onto as things settle back to the normal present.

Basically, the book begins on a rock formation that is outside a seaside town. It is a beautiful setting to begin with.

Until it’s not. We see that there are images on these rocks. They are full of horror and seem to be from out of this world. They also seem to be pretty deadly. These images are imprinted on the reader’s mind as they continue on with the rest of the book.

That flash forward is what starts out the book. It is a strong idea to base the entirety of the series on. We see the horror of the story fairly quickly until we are taken back to a place of calmness. We get to meet the main characters of the book. The series cycles back to “12 hours ago” and builds up to the horrific opening pages. But Thompson does so in a completely natural and patient way, letting the story take us where it naturally feels it should go.

We then meet our main cast who are Will, Cleo, Katie, Wade and Lux. When we first meet them, we have no idea what they are actually doing. I had read no real descriptions of the book before picking this up so I was discovering who the cast were and what they were doing as I was reading it. I found that they were actually up at 3:30am to film a movie. Having been on many film shoots, I immediately gravitated to these characters and what they were doing. It also gave the book a sense of uniqueness that I have not seen in a comic book before.

We get to see this crew go about their work in trying to set up their filming day. All of the dialogue feels natural and unforced, a marvel in comics today. I loved to learn about the individual characters here in the most mundane way possible. It is a story that slowly washes over you and you have to allow it to.

Once you do, it takes you to places you never would have thought.

Things do go bad quickly. But when they do, you care about the characters so it makes it even more horrific. The characters are really put through their paces and every single one of them isn’t the same by the end of the book. Since Thompson took the time for us to get to know them, we care about them. That makes every horrible moment worse.

You care and you are empathetic with these characters who may all be doomed. It is quite a writing feat that Thompson pulls off. By the end of the book, my heart was in my throat reading this. It does go into some crazy places.

The story is matched in intensity by the artwork of Mattia De Iulis. It is artwork that is beautiful to look at for sure. It also is very expressive and horrifying. The combination of writer and artist in this book works seamlessly, and these two clearly put a lot of time into this. It pays off in spades.

This is a comic book unlike any other out there, one that surprised, moved and terrified me.

Well done.


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