Review: Miskatonic High #1 & #2 (Mike Shea & Ryan Mendoza)

Whether it be Riverdale, Buffy the Vampire Slayer or even One Tree Hill, the school setting has long been a favourite setting for comics. With the school term ending, what better time to enrol in a new series as we check out Mike Shea and Ryan Mendoza’s Miskatonic High, a supernatural adventure/thriller series which sees five students face some unusual goings on. Can this series earn itself A’s with readers, or will it end up languishing in detention?

Publisher: Mike Shea & Ryan Mendoza Comics
Writer: Mike Shea
Artist: Ryan Mendoza
Price: £0.69/$0.99 per issue on Comixology

Miskatonic High tells the story of five students: Alexandra ‘Alex’ Davison, Karen ‘Ren’ Santos, Simon Harris, Matthew ‘Matt’ Williams and Sarah Clarke, who, either by choice or from a lack of options, enrol in Miskatonic High’s Community Services Club. Forming to go out into their local neighbourhood to help those who might need assistance, the five are stunned when they find themselves helping in a misty, fungi covered basement which causes them to transport on an adventure to Ancient Egypt. Now, this ‘infamous five’ must go out into their community to help others, stumble upon other bizarre adventures and attempt to figure out what is going on to make them encounter so many unusual happenings.

Ryan Shea has formed a very enjoyable, light hearted idea within the story of Miskatonic High. With a semblance of many different school based works, such as Morning Glories, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, this series has a very Scooby Doo vibe (minus the dog) as these five characters investigate (albeit somewhat reluctantly) the bizarre events they find themselves in within these first two issues.

Shea does a good job of forming a kind of ‘done-in-one’ comic as each plot wraps rather nicely in a single issue to provide a full and entertaining tale for readers. However, there are references to an ongoing subplot which seem intriguing enough to promote return-ability. The cast are quite an eclectic bunch, seemingly based upon many stereotypes of current day social circles in an almost ‘Breakfast Club’ ensemble.

However, some of these characters do come across as more likeable than others, although two issues may not be enough time to sell them all. Also, the opening half of the first issue feels a little slow and lacking in story direction, possibly due to series setup, although it does help with the air of mystery upon the first big reveal at the midway point.

Meanwhile, Ryan Mendoza offers top notch artwork on this title as his style, again very reminiscent of Image’s Morning Glories series, really works well with the concept thanks to it’s clean, smooth pencils and it’s light, almost pastel like colour scheme. Mendoza really works well here to sell what Shea’s script is offering as the artwork looks equally fun and light-hearted throughout, such as early in the first issue with the falling of the mist in the basement (which looks like a light hearted Francavilla style). However, he also manages to offer hints of a darker tone to build on the mystery with some great inking and shadows during the Egyptian and underground scenes.

Miskatonic High is such a fun, enjoyable comic to read as both its artist and writer have managed to find a sweet spot between slice of life and horror genres and perfectly rendered them onto the page. While, the first two issues are not perfect, their charm and intrigue over the longer story points should be more than enough to convince readers for another lesson. As such, Miskatonic High is a which deserves full marks for the entire class.