James Tynion IV & Noah J. Yuenkel’s new Thrillbent series “The House in the Wall” builds an unsettling amount of tension in its opening pages. It is cleverly executed to creep under your skin and redefines the conventions of the horror comic book by experimenting with paneling in really interesting and scary ways.
You know the looming sense of presence you sometimes feel over your shoulder. The idea that someone’s watching you, that creeping sense of dread that you can’t shake? That’s “The House in the Wall” in a nutshell. It’s filled with undefined dread, the type of haunting stuff that you can’t even confirm actually exists, and it’s why it will burrow into the core of your being.
There is certainly a lot to be appreciated here, it’s a relatable story of young angst. Adrift in a sea of students who are all lost in a lecture hall, Ariel can’t seem to stay focused on the task at hand. When she looks up for help, she’s met with an intoxicating presence. An ornate door looms in front of her. Of course, she heads inside.
We learn a lot about her character through what little we see of her here. It’s intriguing to see a character so ready to welcome a strange presence with open arms. However, the supporting cast doesn’t get enough time to properly introduce themselves, but it’s a minor gripe in an otherwise stellar package.
Eryk Donovan really gets to shine in this debut issue. As he’s the one who carefully strings you along this tightrope walk of creeping dread. His uncharacterized students are attentive and reflect your worst fears back at you. The ornate door that leads us to the titular house is intriguing and un-missable. You can’t help but feel yourself drift toward it.
Donovan’s art works wonders with Fred C Stressing’s amazing colors. Together they create an alternative world of horror that feels a lot like our world, but with something slightly off. It’s a beautiful tribute to the works of Dario Argento and other masters of horror who used lighting effects to create a sense of uncanny dread. It’s all here, and will slowly coil around you. At first it feels warm and inviting, if only to betray you a panel later.
“The House in the Wall” is a little too short for my taste. It gives a tantalizing morsel of the greater story before leaving you to deal with your new sense of dread. But, if it’s any consolation, the wonderful story continues bi-weekly from Thrillbent. There is no excuse to miss this book, it’s chilling, intriguing, and I can’t wait to see where things head next.
House In The Wall, along with all the other content on Thrillbent, is available with the $3.99 monthly subscription (also available through the website). To get House In The Wall, and all the other content on Thrillbent, people can click the below link (also available through the website).