Review: The Plot #1 (Vault Comics)

Vault Comics are having a stellar 2019 and every month we are treated to a superb new title. Joining the likes of Resonant and Test , The Plot is a creepy paranormal tale about a family who are tormented by a sinister murderous monster.

Publisher: Vault Comics
Writer: Tim Daniel, Michael Moreci
Artist: Joshua Hixson, Jordan Boyd, Jim Campbell
Price: £2.49 from ComiXology

When their parents are murdered by a mysterious Swamp Thing like creature, teenagers McKenzie and Zach are sent to live with their estranged uncle Chase in the family home. It’s a Gothic run down mansion in the middle of nowhere which sets up a classic haunted house vibe for this tale of unhappy families.

Writers Tim Daniel and Michael Moreci have create a superbly creepy world for their characters to inhabit in The Plot. From the sinister family house which makes the Bates Motel look like a 5 star TripAdvisor recommendation, to the mysterious monster who is tormenting the Blaine family like the shark in Jaws. With family rivalries and small town niggles as well, this is one of those books which just feels packed with unanswered questions that you can’t wait to find out about. Especially when the kids begin exploring the house and getting taken off on dark and creepy journeys of discovery.

Daniel and Moreci have crafted a really rich and well layered story, which hints at dark pasts and strange goings on in the Blaize family, as well as the family house. On the surface it has a kind of Stephen King-esque quality, with elements that reminded us everything from The Shining to IT. But underneath there are themes of mental illness and also a family curse, as well as questions about the meaning behind the sinister creature which is haunting them – who appears out of nowhere and has no context or motivation, making it even scarier as a result!

The whole thing is brought to life with some exquisitely stylish artwork from Joshua Hixson and Jordan Boyd. The opening chapters have the stylish characterisation of Sean Philips’s work on Criminal, but also feels like it has some the iconic simplicity of David Aja (Hawkeye) or even David Mazuchelli (Batman: Year One). The monster, while feeling slightly derivative, has a very slimey and organic feel to it, and is no less scary for it looking Swamp Thing’s angry cousin. Meanwhile the locations and landscapes all have a very classic, American Gothic feel to it, before Hixson really gets to cut loose in some of the final pages with some very sinister settings.

This fine artwork would be nothing with without the dirty and murky colour scheme from Jordan Boyd which gives it an organic and muddy feel that goes perfectly with the creepy lead monster.  It also makes it feel quite old fashioned (in a good way), using halftone patterns and vintage inspired hues which make it feel like a forgotten Vertigo title from the late 80s rather than a modern indie comics.

With the creepy under currents of a classic Hammer Horror or EC Comic story, super stylish vintage artwork and an iconic villain, The Plot is set to be one of Vault’s best books of the year! And considering it’s competition, that is quite an achievement!