• Elk’s Run #1

    Elk’s Run #1
    Released by: Oni Press
    Released on: August 25th, 2015.
    Written by: Joshua Hale Fialkov
    Illustrated by: Noel Tuazon with Scott Keating
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    When the first issue of this series begins, a cyclist is peddling his way around a mountain path when a few pebbles come loose. It looks like he’s being chased by three other guys but from here we cut to a full page shot of the small town of Elk’s Ridge, West Virginia. It’s a town with an odd past. It used to be a mine – literally, the company that ran the old mine that everything was built up around carved living quarters for the miners into the side of the mountain. Not surprisingly, there were cave-ins and people died.

    When people moved into the town proper, the mine itself was deemed hazardous and it was boarded up. Rumor has it that the ghost of a man who died there named Elijah haunts the place. It’s then that we catch up with the boys who were biking up the hill – three of them are ‘just fucking with you, Mikey’ but you can tell there’s a bit of malice there.

    One of the kids is John. At home, over dinner, he talks to his family about the merits of leaving town and going to college versus staying home and working, being a ‘patriot.’ John isn’t happy here. He needs to leave, to meet girls (there aren’t enough in town), but for now he’ll sleep… until the alarm goes off before 11pm. He hops on his bike and heads back towards the mine to meet the other boys in the tunnel. He does and they goof around a bit but things take a serious turn when one of them is struck by a car – it’s Mikey, he doesn’t make it. The tunnel was supposed to be closed, the car wasn’t supposed to be there and the man behind the wheel, Arnold Huld, will be held accountable.

    This first issue has a good hook. We start off by learning a bit of the history of the town, how Vietnam veterans founded it and got the mine going in hopes of giving their families a better life. In the time in which this story takes place, however, it seems like things have taken a drastically different turn. Small town violence and family secrets would seem to hold a powerful sway over the population and with John established as our central character and setup as someone who is going to go against the status quo even this early in the run, well, this situation would seem to be ripe for conflict indeed. Joshua Hale Fialkov sets up some interesting characters and a solid mystery and on top of that, leaves us with an ending twisted enough to make us want to come back for more.

    The artwork from Noel Tuazon and Scott Keating suits the dark tone of the story well. It’s got a sketchy quality to it that, when combined with the heavy inks used to accent things and the strong earth tones in the coloring, helps to create a look that suits the story well. This is good stuff, it’s off to a solid start…