The cleverest conceit about insanity is that, for the sane, it’s always a heartbeat away. We never know what could happen in our everyday lives that could, would, and should drive us crazy. So far as we know, this great big world keeps growing bigger and moving faster, so much so that we’re easily disassociated from it. Once that happens, then I’ve heard it said that it only takes a push for the average mind to flip its internal switch, turning us from the normal into the abnormal. Once that happens, is there any way back?
We’re told there is. At least, we’re told to have hope. But losing one’s mind is only a small price to pay if the other side contains the likes of Nimble Jack …
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of character and plot. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last two paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Reece – a nurse – has spent much of her adult work life caring for Declan, a young man suffering the unfathomable medical mystery of coldness. For Declan isn’t only cold to the touch, he’s cold all over – inside and out – with a body temp that’s slowly been dropping over the years. However, one day, Declan awoke from his coma, and he shared with Reece his true malady: he’s been using his condition all these years to hide from Nimble Jack, a nefarious spectre who feeds on the minds of the insane. Declan’s long believed he was Jack’s greatest possible meal. And now that he’s suspended his self-imposed exile, the young man may have a heavy price to pay, indeed.
COLDER has been a delight. This fourth issue opens up after a stunning climax from the third issue which put the fate of our suffering nurse in serious jeopardy. Declan has found another pathway back into the Hungry World, where he hopes Jack has taken Reece … but what can he do to recover her if she’s lost her sanity? The stakes can’t get any higher, but our flawed protagonist continues his quest to find his redemption, even at the threat to his own life, and that’s a hero any audience can get excited about.
What makes this tale work from start to finish is the puzzle – who are these people, why are they suffering, and just what can be accomplished to save the day – and writer Paul Tobin has crafted a wonderfully compelling tale with one parts logic heavily diluted with two parts madness for those people who prefer their fairy tales fully fractured. The Hungry World is a dark, grim existence for those who live there every day: here’s hoping our two main characters can find a way to outsmart Nimble Jack before they succumb to their separate maladies … but things close in these last few panels not looking all so rosy.
COLDER (Part 4 of 5) is published by Dark Horse Comics. The script is by Paul Tobin; the art is by Juan Ferreyra; the coloring is by Eduardo Ferreyra and Laura Binaghi; and the letters are by Nate Piekos of BlamBot. This single issue bears the cover price of $3.99.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Our society has come so far that it’s hard to come up with something entirely fresh, new, and original on the horror front, but so much of COLDER works because it explores how a creeping insanity can find perch in our everyday lives and push us over the edge … or is that sanity I see slowly crawling away? I suspect readers will finally know all when Tobin and Ferreyra dish out the last piece to this reality-shattering puzzle in another 30 days. If I were you, I wouldn’t miss it? Who knows what the price will be? Maybe – just maybe – it’ll be your own sanity.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Dark Horse Comics provided me with a digital copy of COLDER (Part 4 of 5) for the expressed purposes of completing this review.