Comic Review: The Pound #1
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The Pound #1
Written by Stephan Nilson
Art by Karl Waller
Colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr
Lettering by Charles Pritchett
Frozen Beach Studios
Release date: March 30, 2011

I always like when a new horror comic comes around, and that’s what we’re getting with The Pound, a new series from Frozen Beach Studios. The Pound has a premise that I have kind of seen before, but is different enough for me latch on to. The Pound has a lot of great potential, and a first issue that sets everything up in a nice way and gets the mystery going.

The issue starts with a bit of horror, as we see the standard girl in peril in a dark alley, until she is rescued by a couple of werewolves. We then cut to Scott and Howie, a couple of exterminators who lose their jobs in a round of layoffs, but decide to pull themselves up and start their own extermination company. A couple of weeks later, the company has been started, and the pair run into a case that may be more than they can handle. Where this case will lead them is anyone’s guess.

If I had to compare this book to anything, I’d say that it is very reminiscent of The Exterminators, a Vertigo series from a few years ago. That series centered with a group of exterminators who dealt with insects, rats, and a bigger plot that involved a lot of strange stuff going on. This series seems to be in a similar vein; however, The Pound has a much more supernatural feel to it. The first issue itself is a lot about setting up the two main characters, particularly Scott and his family. The plot starts to get going in the last few pages, and not only does it kick the story into high gear, it also opens up a world of possibilities. The werewolves are revealed in the first few pages, and if the series continues, I could see them taking on a variety of different kinds of monsters.

Writer Stephan Nilson does a good job of establishing the characters, but there’s some work to be done on the pacing of the issue. The first few pages are good, although they do kind of blow the surprise that comes later in the issue, but they work to set up the tone of the book. Then we are treated to a long section of a lot of people talking all so we can establish their characters. This is certainly needed, especially in the first issue of a new series, but there are ways to give this information in a quicker fashion, which would free up the issue for even more stuff to happen. Really, this feels like a movie pitch that was changed over to a comic script, with only slight changes, and that’s never the best way to tell a story in comics. I think if he can get a few issues under him, he can clean up some of the pacing and give the reader a tighter story.

The same can be said of the art on the book by Karl Waller. There’s nothing spectacularly bad about it, but there are some rough edges. He handles all the long exposition scenes well, and the first scene has a lot going for it. However, the last few pages have a car chase sequence of sorts, and he doesn’t turn in his best work here. Driving sequences can be tough for even the best artists to make interesting. Unfortunately, the art makes the chase more confusing, and I lost track of who was where and what they were trying to do. Again, with a little work and a better script to work with, Waller could turn in some good work. This issue just isn’t the best showcase for his work.

So, what we have is kind of an uneven issue. There’s a good premise here, and some interesting enough characters, but there is some clunky storytelling that doesn’t show the plot and characters in the best light. I may check back with this series in a few issues to see if they have worked out these kinks. It may be worth checking out if you like horror comics with a different premise than normal. As it stands, I’m giving this issue a 2 out of 5.

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