• Baraka

The Low, Low Woods #1 Review - Yeah, This One Kinda Sucked

Carmen Maria Machado (Writer) • Dani (Pencils) • J.A.W. CooperTamra Bonvillain (Colorist) • DC Comics (Publisher)

The Hillhouse line of DC Comics has been really hit and miss so far. For every hit (Basketful of Heads, Dollhouse Family) there is a misfire (Daphne Byrne). Unfortunately, The Low, Low Woods also stumbles out of the gate.

There are several problems with this comic. The primary concern is that the series is gonna be decompressed. The series was on my pull list so I have the entire series but I can't imagine someone randomly finding this series, reading this issue, and thinking Fuck Yeah! this is great.

The book's problems also extend to the cover and art direction. Neither cover sell the concept of the series. They aren't scary nor do they convey the tension needed for a horror comic. It's strange that neither cover depicts the lead characters as they appear in the comic. The co-lead Octavia is literally drawn as a purple person for the bulk of the issue. I know bi-sexual lighting is an actual concept but drawing African-Americans as a purple people eater in 202X is lazy and kinda racist.

This is a #1 issue of a decompressed story. The comic follows best friends Octavia and El after they "lose time" like in classic Sci-Fi and wake up in a movie theater. They leave on the way home they encounter some weird deer creature. From there the comic transitions and we're given a brief history of Shudder-To-Think, PA, and the strange happenings around it.

After the strangeness with the theater and the deer, El narrates the rest of the comic which wouldn't be bad but she wasn't really interesting to me. The next SEVERAL pages of angst, exposition, and YA drama never connected and made the entire reading experience feel like I was reading prose. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but if you buy a novel you get the whole story at once. Carmen Machado is an essay-writer and novelist which explains a lot of the pacing issues.

Hopefully, as I review the series the plot will come together and characters will be fleshed out beyond teen melodrama. All of the Hill House books have improved as they have gone on. I'm expecting the same With The Low, Low Woods.

As hard as I've been on the comic it does have a great cliffhanger which piqued my interest for the second issue. Even with that insight, I can't recommend this series in single-issue format. There are just too many problems with the pacing and structure of this issue to recommend to anyone aside from hardcore YA, horror enthusiasts and, people like me who burn money reviewing comics that no one will ever read 😂

Rating: 4/10