Writer: Paul Cornell / Artist: Sally Cantirino / Vault Comics
One of my favorite tropes in media is “He Who Fights Monsters,” which is a paraphrase of a quote from Nietzsche that can be basically summed up as: take care not to become as horrible as the things you’re trying to stop. It’s an omnipresent trope for sure, but one that I find myself engaging with often, which makes it that much more satisfying to see such an intriguing take on the premise. I Walk With Monsters evokes the trope from its title, but it explores so much more and is an utterly fascinating and enthralling comic.
From the first page, we see our protagonist Jacey in a situation that in almost any other piece of fiction would be because for stress and concern, but rather, she is almost bored with the set and impatiently waiting for the next event to happen. She shows open disgust and contempt for a creep in scrubs with a scalpel, and calmly destroys the dude verbally before he is destroyed physically by Jacey’s companion David. It’s such an engaging, unexpected opening sequence that captivates the reader and establishes the tone, mood, and themes of the series so seemingly effortlessly that you know Cornell and Cantirino put in a lot of effort to tell the story.
I Walk With Monsters #1 does so many cool things between its distinct color palettes for the story as it happens in the present and the past, and the way it manipulates the page to reflect Jacey’s thoughts and actions in unconventional manners. Types of decisions that can only be made in the format of a comic, and the type of decisions that cement a series’ grasp on me.
Cantirino’s artwork is beautiful, able to blend idyllic country scenery with dark fantastical imagery. Cornell’s writing, while occasionally verbose, has a very strong cadence that makes it engaging to read and also crafts this compelling narrative. There are so many questions I have as a reader, so many disparate pieces of a puzzle, but Cornell’s narrative somehow ensures me that everything will come together and this story about the different types of monsters in this world will pay off.
I Walk With Monsters #1 came out a month ago, and I am incredibly thankful that I managed to find the time to catch up with the series as #2 is coming out today (12/30). This is going to be a wild ride, and I’m excited to see how Cornell and Cantirino answer all of the questions about the predicament that Jacey and David find themselves in.
9.5 “Contact Points” out of 10