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5 Skull Review: ‘LUST’

“LUST” is a provocative new book from 44FLOOD. Further diversifying the term “comic book” are Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith, and Menton3 telling a prose story with accompanying images. Upon casual observation, it is clear that “LUST” is more than your average comic. It defies the term, but adds to it at the same time. The haunting visuals hang with the dreadfully dark stories to make for one incredible reading experience.

WRITTEN BY: Steve Niles
ART BY: Ben Templesmith & menton3
PRICE: $40.00

The book has two beautiful covers. One of the covers is from Ben Templesmith and the other by menton3. Each of them characterizes the story behind it in such an evocative way. Templesmith’s warm earth tones and murky blood suggest the gore that waits. Menton3’s cover gives a sense of dread with greys, dark blacks, and blue.

Both stories beyond their respective covers are written by Steve Niles of “30 days of Night” fame. They are unique but thematically similar tales of virtue and vice. The grim tone is established from the get go. With the most intimate and disgusting tale being that of a junkie, brought to life by Templesmith.

Niles focuses on a group of drug dealers. A deal has gone wrong and Cam is responsible for cleaning it up. This story has such an unrelenting sense of lust. Every character is defined by their desires. These are not good people, and the things they desire are far from virtuous.

The story is creepy and foreboding. Cam’s ordeal is described in cringe-worthy detail. The prose evokes a sense of dread that cannot be channeled any other way. We experience the horrible things that Cam goes through in intimate first person detail.

After Niles has creeped so far under your skin, he takes things a step further. The story concludes in an agonizing fashion that leaves the reader with a certain sense of lust. It makes you think of what you want more than anything, and what would happen if it consumed you.

Ben Templesmith’s art is like the best pages of the necronomicon. So beautifully terrifying that you cannot look away. The full-page spreads evoke a sense of whimsy in regards to the human form. Pages ooze with sexuality, only to spin the sexuality on its head with horrifying imagery. What results is a fully immersive experience that drags you through the underbelly of drug culture.

Any page from this book could own the most avid art fan for several hours. The art and the story creep together like a snake about to strike. It coils around you and burrows into your skull until you are unable to do anything but accept its embrace.

Flipping over the book will take you to menton3’s half. Here Niles weaves the story of Dan. A man reeling from his recent loss of everything: his family, his home, and his initiative. Dan floats through his life without purpose. Consumed with questions, he is lost.

The story rolls on with Dan’s fascination of his environment. He attempts to paint, but is whisked away by just about everything around him. He is haunted by images of hurt women, who have their own desires.

Menton3’s incredible paintings tease the reader as the story progresses. The dark tones give a unique sense of foreboding. A different haunting woman is playfully painted in a seductive pose on every page. Menton3 makes sure to disrupt these images with demonic figures looming in darkness. The women are seductive, and timeless. Every page brings a more intimate woman than the last. Niles story compliments the art. The terrifying verses are accompanied and sometimes embodied by the demonic figures on the page.

Menton3 plays a game of peek-a-boo with your psyche. Balancing the seductive and playful side of women with the darkness that they can create. Niles story and menton3’s art hit a high point at the same time. Throwing the reader into an abyss of demonic women. Each page plays with one beside it, and the intimacy created by the art will create an experience that will devour you.

“LUST” defies conventional criticism and here I am giving it. The entire book is such a work of art that it really must be held in your hands to understand the true gravity of its contents. The exploration of vice and virtue has never quite been done like this, and may never be again. In essence “LUST” will terrify you, thrill you, and change you. I’ve read it four times, and I can’t wait to dive in again.

Do yourself a favor and pick this book up. It is everything that you could ever want, and you need to ask yourself: how hard are you willing to work to get everything you could ever want? How badly do you lust for this book? And is that a good thing?

5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jimbus_Christ



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