• Colder Volume Two: The Bad Seed TPB

    Published by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: June 17, 2015
    Writer: Paul Tobin
    Artist: Juan Ferreyra
    Cover artist: Juan Ferreyra
    Purchase at Amazon

    Declan and Reece have been an item since he saved her from Nimble Jack (see write-up for Colder Volume 1) and today is the day she brings Declan into her work. She’s employed at a hospital for mental illness and Declan has the ability to take the insanity away from them. His temperature drops when he does it, but so long as he maintains a certain temp or higher, things will be ok. At the hospital he works his magic, miraculously curing some patients before calling it a day.

    While that’s all happening, on the streets of Boston walks a man with a peculiar fetish: collecting human fingers. Age and race is of no consequence, as he hacks off any and all fingers when the mood hits him. Certainly not by chance, this finger man passes by the love birds Reece and Declan as they make their way home from the institution and makes it obvious he knows who Declan is, even if the familiarity isn’t a mutual thing. After they pass, finger guy, who soon reveals his name to be Swivel, displays another thing he likes to do and it isn’t any prettier than his hacking off fingers. And speaking of fingers, it seems he does more than just collect them. This is a very, VERY strange being, but a very resourceful too. At one point he has an immediate need for a piece of paper to make an airplane is quickly fulfilled, courtesy of some poor slob of a stoner sitting around without a shirt. Skin makes great paper it would appear. This multi-talented man is also great with getting slivers out of precious fingers.

    On to other things though, Swivel makes his presence known to Reece at the hospital where she works and has some information about Declan he feels she needs to know, referring to Declan as “the harvester”. Reese is no pushover though, and rightfully fearing Swivel she makes a break for it, but to no avail. He snags her and brings her back to the hidden world of the insane, a place he says Declan used to live right down the street from him and good old Jack Nimble from the last Colder tale. At any rate, he’s got Reese, and with the help of his finger collection and some dogs with hands for bodies, he keeps her at bay and waits for Declan. But first he needs to show her something else.

    Swivel finds himself a garden, ready for harvesting, and wastes no time getting himself some more fingers, while Declan wanders around the realm of insanity looking for Reese. She finds him instead, well sort of, in the house Swivel told her Declan used to live in, and she has some questions for the tall cold one. Instead of waiting around for him to remember anything she decides they should take a look around the place. They find themselves in what appears to be one of Declan’s repressed memories.

    The memory is not a pleasant one, as you can well imagine, and it involves a thief, red long johns, chicken heads, and fingers; always with the fingers. And speaking of fingers, Swivel shows up at the end of the memory, and leads them to another one which involves good old Jack Nimble. Once the trip down Memory Lane is over, Swivel shows up for a heart-to-heart talk, and he and Declan have themselves some serious alone time. From this point the weirdness and the surrealism kicks in to an even higher gear, and the two heroes try to figure out what exactly Declan is, and how to dispatch with Swivel. Rest assured, he won’t just go away if they ask nicely.

    The two creators, Tobin and Ferreyra, have more than proven the excellence that results from their collaborations, and it’s great to have them back on the Colder story and characters. Already fleshed out, Declan and Reece pick up right where they left off in the first series, and the only new character of focus is this bizarre thing that calls itself Swivel. Swivel is far more frightening a foe than Nimble ever was and in the world of the insane there seems little he cannot do, and gives the creative team a lot of space to explore.

    The artwork is magnificent, and there are some amazingly beautiful and dark visuals to behold. And some funny little details too, like a panel where Declan uses a crazy older couple to get into the realm of the suffering and the woman’s false teeth pop out as she screams in silence. His output is the kind you just can’t get enough of. So many people get their fingers lopped off and the expressions of shock and disbelief on the faces of those who lose their digits are perfect. These poor saps look exactly the way you might expect to look should your own fingers get lopped off. “Wh-wh-what the fuck?!! AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!” It shouldn’t be humorous, but it is, and we can thank Ferreyra’s fantastic illustrations for it.

    The back of the book has a few extras. Paul Tobin gives the reader a 10-page “Colder” short story (no art) and Juan Ferreyra shows some cover concepts and gives a bit of insight into their creation.

    This tale is trippy to be sure, and it can get confusing here and there with a fair number of “what’s the-?!” moments, but that’s part of the book’s charm and allure. It’s such a mind-fuck that we recommended you just strap in and ride it to the end. It’s like a twisted and brutal roller coaster in the dark.