Review: ‘House Of Gold & Bones’ #1

houseofgoldandbones1

Deep in paranoia and reveling in insanity, House Of Gold & Bones #1 is a gripping read about the fear of the unknown. Corey Taylor, lead vocalist of Slipknot and Stone Sour, makes a stunning foray into comic writing that captures the essence of madness. Lost in the middle of nowhere, a young man drifts into another reality and struggles to find out where he is. Will he able to escape from this hell-hole or is he stranded for eternity?

WRITTEN BY: Corey Taylor
ART BY: Richard Clark
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
PRICE: $2.99
RELEASE: April 17th, 2013

A young man wakes up in a world much like our own, but so eerily different. Wearing a prisoner’s uniform, he notices his name-tag says only, “Zero.” The landscape is alive with alien sounds and something evil lurks in the darkness. Unsure of where to go, Zero has no idea how he arrived in this alternate reality of Hell. The shadows are alive, searching for him in this nightmare. What will happen if the sun sets and never comes back up? With no salvation from anywhere and anyone, there is no place for Zero to hide from the ever-growing darkness.

Inspired by the Stone Sour’s album of the same name, writer Corey Taylor jumps into the world of comics without any hesitation. As a storyteller, Taylor knows how to craft a mystery using characterization and atmosphere. Taylor is striving to let the mystery develop on its own, while leaving clues so that readers aren’t confused. Thought captions are used to provide depth to a mysterious protagonist, who may or may not be trustworthy. Though Zero isn’t given back-story, I’m hoping more information will come along in the next issues.

This installment is filled with many questions as Taylor sets up the groundwork for Zero. Because he is wearing a prisoner’s outfit, is Zero trapped in his own personal Hell on purpose? Or, does Zero have multiple personalities, and he doesn’t know which one is real? I find the Zero character interesting because Taylor presents him as both the protagonist and antagonist. I’m eager to find out the answers in the upcoming issues as the story develops.

Richard Clark focuses his artwork on creating a minimalist atmosphere of suspense. Clark uses wide shots to illustrate the vast open spaces and little backgrounds. While trying to evoke the mood of irrationality and confusion, Clark focuses heavily of Zero’s facial expressions. In the opening pages, Zero goes through a wide range of emotions – from calmness to shock. In the close-ups, Clark captures the fear on Zero’s face as he runs away from threats that may or may not be real.

Clark is able to build the creepiness and surrealistic vibe using just one setting. Clark surrounds a rundown building with streams of clouds as if they were pointing the way for Zero. The shadows are alive, chasing after Zero, who is too afraid to look back. Clark just gives a glimpse of a hand reaching out for Zero.

A promising start, “House of Gold and Bones” #1 explores the fear of the unknown in interesting ways. Though the issue leaves a lot of unanswered questions, I look forward to reading how Taylor will develop the mystery.

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis