James Tynion IV has shown over the last few years that he excels at worldbuilding. It is part of the reason that so many of his independent comics do so well. At the top of that list is the smash-hit Something Is Killing The Children. The world that Tynion has built there is ripe for further exploration, so it only made sense when House of Slaughter was announced as a spinoff series.
House of Slaughter #1 reintroduces the reader to Aaron after he has returned home after helping Erica. The story starts in the present day as Aaron is out hunting more monsters. However, that is just a temporary aside as the story quickly jumps back 15 years to when Aaron was just a rookie monster hunter.
Doing a spinoff of a popular title is always a balancing act. It is important to have a story that is compelling to the existing readers, while at the same time being friendly to new readers. In House of Slaughter #1, Tynion does an excellent job of hitting both points. There are enough connections to Something Is Killing The Children; however, the mentions are not so integral that new readers will feel like they are missing out on key points.
Aaron has already been an interesting character within this world. Tynion builds upon that and presents a compelling beginning of an origin story. Additionally, by the end of the issue, the first foil is established. Now it is just a matter of following the path to get to the present day. While Aaron is the focus in this first issue, several other plot points are planted. Perhaps one of the most compelling may be the two different groups within the House of Slaughter. The back and forth relationship between Jessica and Cecilia allows Tynion to explain the setup of the houses and different masks without it feeling bogged down.
Chris Shehan’s character designs are focused on realism but have enough fantastical details to remind you what type of world the story takes place in. When needed, Shehan creates these highly detailed panels that draw the reader into the story. However, when the dialogue is expected to hit the landing, Shehan keeps it simple as not to distract from that point. The coloring is muted throughout with bright colors used to draw attention to the focal point. Additionally, the simple panel layouts allow for a quick read.
House of Slaughter #1 continues with Tynion’s streak of successful independent comics. The characters are presented with depth that will lend itself to continued stories. Be sure to grab a copy as soon as you can.