This holiday season, you have much more to fear than just your overbearing in-laws, disgusting fruitcake, or even Mariah Carey. The Deviant takes all your worst fears, drops them into a stocking, and whacks you upside the head, courtesy of an eerie, deadly serious tone, a captivatingly complex cast, and a villain that could have been campy were they not sincerely terrifying.
In 1973, a series of grisly murders took place that shook the city of Milwaukee and its community during what should be the happiest time of the year. Fifty years later, the man convicted for those crimes sits down to tell his story to the most unlikeliest of biographers: a comic book writer. What the old man tells Michael reveals hard truths about the nature of man, his prejudice, and even insight into Michael’s own behavior. Crazier still, is the fact that the bitter old man may not be the real killer.
The Deviant is so good it’s scary. From the colorful, silent opening pages to its chilling cliffhanger, this deluxe first issue has a cinematic quality that sucks you right in. Each widescreen panel feels like the shot of a film that you would have been forbidden from watching as a child, and for good reason: this book is downright terrifying. Writer James Tynion IV delivers what could very well be his masterpiece with a script that deliberately takes its time, making excellent use of its 44-page count. His dialogue, though sparse, strikes the perfect balance of realism and melodrama, providing more insight into the characters than your typical inner monologue.
While Tynion’s storytelling prowess is evident, he has a perfect partner in artist Joshua Hixson, who manages to move the narrative forward with nary a word. His character designs are simple, yet complex, evoking the likes of David Aja and Chris Samnee, while maintaining his own distinct style. Hixson handles moments both big and small, from the tiniest flicker of emotion in our protagonist’s face to a full-page scene of literal blood and guts. Not to be outdone, letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou manages to include his own artistic flair, from the large captions announcing a new set piece to the disturbing sound effects that seem to have an eerie texture of their own. Like the film Suspiria, The Deviant is a grotesque thing of beauty that will shake you to your very core. Don’t believe me? Pick up a copy and see for yourself…if you dare.