Review: Spread #1 (Image Comics)

Image Comics’ arctic set horror Spread #1 sees a man called No take on a genocidal tentacled monster and rescue a mysterious baby called Hope. But should Justin Joran and Kyle Strahm’s blood-soaked alien beasties be allowed to spread, or should they be kept in quarantine? 

Spread #1 coverPublisher: Image Comics
Writer: Justin Jordan
Artist: Kyle Strahm
Price: £1.99/$2.99 from ComiXology or from the Image Comics Store

Spread #1 is the new blood-soaked arctic horror series from Image Comics written by Justin Jordan (Green Lantern: New Guardians) & drawn by Kyle Strahm (Judge Dredd / The Haunt). This first issue is set in a snowy wasteland where the eponymous ‘Spread’ (the aforementioned ominous tentacled monster) has destroyed most of mankind, reducing the world to a Mad Max style ‘post-apocalyptic’ civilisation, complete with mohawk sporting goons. There we’re introduced to a guy called No – who looks like a mixture of Wolverine, Mad Max and Wandering Samurai  – who, by sheer accident, happens across a baby called Hope, which instantly joins their fates.

The action (and gore) starts on page 1, with plenty of bloodshed in the first few pages and the story runs along at a frantic pace with blood, guts, action & swearing aplenty all of which set up plenty of mysteries for the upcoming story. Jordan’s script does a great job introducing us to this blood-soaked scenario and our enigmatic lead characters while Strahm’s highly stylised artwork is very detailed, with a nice grungy look to it – perhaps owing a debt to his time on Dredd?

The Spread itself looks like a mix between War of the Worlds’ ‘Red Weed’ and a Cthulhu type tentacled beast (only with even more mouths and teeth) and there are some great camera angles and slo mo scenes that you can imagine coming straight from your favourite anime. Our only concern with the visuals was that Hope is actually more frightening than The Spread! But seeing as she may yet prove to be a mutant, alien or alternate dimension baby, we’ll wait before casting too harsh a judgment!

Because of it’s arctic setting and tentacled main protagonist, Spread initially comes across as a rehash of many stories horror fans know and love especially John Carpenters The Thing, but that doesn’t stop it from being a really enjoyable book. It’s unclear if this is going to be a mini series, or a longer ongoing title, but if Jordan and Strahn manage to keep up the frenetic pace of this first issue, it’s going to be a great ride!

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“Not one for the weak of stomach, this blood soaked alien invasion story may be too violent and gory for some readers, but for those that like their horror with plenty of tentacles and an enigmatic baby-rescuing hero then Spread #1 is a really enjoyable read.”

Author: Martin Pearce