Romie is in search of markers to draw strange creatures on the wall. Yui passes the time with Lucas as he strums out new tunes on his guitar. Two brothers prank each other, while other children play tag. You know…it’s just kids doing kid stuff. But after waiting more than 100 years since the Elder left them in their apocalyptic wasteland playground, Billy argues that the rest of the kids should go out and see the world. However, the sun is about to rise, which means it’s bed time for our Little Monsters. So what does Billy’s last-minute discovery mean for the rest of the world?
Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen’s latest release from Image Comics is a slow revelation–in more ways than one. For a #1 issue, there’s a pretty sizeable cast to get to know from the get-go. The first half of the issue slowly introduces us to the eight children we meet (side note: as one of 10 children, I get how learning all the names at once can be a little intimidating). We see the children playing their various games (or instruments) among the ruins of an unspecified city. Abandoned cars are strewn across what is left of the roads. Dilapidated buildings are to be drawn on, jumped off, and slept in. But what led to the destruction? Does it have something to do with the children eating live rats or the bared fangs we see at the end?
As Lemire and Nguyen slowly peel back the curtain of this Lord–of–the–Flies-meets-Interview–with–a–Vampire tale, we also learn that the children are growing restless with the doldrums of eternity. Restlessness is a universal emotion, whether you’re a human stuck behind a desk job or a vampire child stuck waiting for your Elder to come back.
Ultimately, this issue introduces several interesting characters and concepts, but that’s about all it spends its time doing: introducing. I wish I could have had a little more conflict to really pull me in–perhaps a double-sized issue– but Billy’s restless spirit and his world-changing discovery bring enough to the table to ask for seconds (but please, no live rats). Billy notes there’s a whole world out there to see, and I believe Lemire and Nguyen have a whole world to show us.
And speaking of “showing us,” Nguyen masterfully depicts the world in which our blood-sucking orphans find themselves. The sparse use of colors and the heavy, bold lines paint a sense of foreboding. Plus, the textural patterns overlaid on the page offer a unique grit and grindhouse feel.
Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen have been given their turn with the vampiric conch, and the resulting Little Monsters #1 is sure to be another classic. While the debut issue primarily spends its time introducing the large cast, the tension and surprises give readers more than enough to sink their teeth into.
Little Monsters #1
Lord of the Flies but with Vampires10.0/10
I Hope Lucas Remembers His Songs10.0/10
There are...a lot of Little Monsters8.0/10
Bleak, Shadowy, Sparsely-Colored Artwork9.0/10
Billy's Restless Soul (If He Has One)10.0/10
- Writer: Jeff Lemire
- Artist and Cover Artist: Dustin Nguyen
- Letterer and Designer: Steve Wands
- Editor: Greg Lockard
- Publisher: Image Comics