When night falls on a small town, creepy kids with jet-black eyes wander the streets. As they close in on one home, a young boy who has been sleepwalking attacks his sister and kills his mother and step-father. The boy’s father Jim and his partner Lara find themselves in the middle of the attack as they try to protect his sister and investigate just what these children really are.
Pruett’s story is atmospheric and intentional. He provides only shades of what is going on early on, moving unnamed pieces into place before the narrative starts to take shape. That amorphousness is unnerving on its own, but it gives the reader time to guess (likely incorrectly) what’s going on. Once characters start to come together, the pace picks up; this volume, by its end, feels more like a prologue than a first act.
Kudranski and Major’s art similarly methodical, putting a premium on pacing. Panels focus on small detail and minor changes from image to image; two panels might be identical except for a shift in focus from foreground to back. Between its careful composition and deeply shadowed pages, it looks and feels like a horror movie. The only issue I ran into is that early in the arc, it can be difficult to sort out which shadowy, hooded kid is which. That problem resolves itself by the end of the second issue, though.
Black-Eyed Kids is creepy and controlled. It feels at times like a zombie or vampire book, but it’s neither. In truth, I’m not exactly sure what it is yet, but “The Children” is an interesting prologue, and I am curious to read what comes next—and if you’re into slow, encroaching horror, you might be too.
Black-Eyed Kids, Vol. 1: The Children (#1-5)
Writer: Joe Pruett | Artist: Szymon Kudranski | Colorist: Guy Major | Letterer: Marshall Dillon | Covers: Francesco Francavilla | Designer: John J. Hill | Editor: Mike Marts