Comic Review: Hoax Hunters, Vol. 1

Hoax Hunters, Vol. 1
Story by Michael Morecci and Steve Seeley
Art by Axel Medellin, Jim Ringuet, and Emilio Laiso
Letters by Jim Campbell
Mothman by Jeremy Tinder
Image Comics
Release Date: December 5, 2012
Cover Price: $14.99

In Michael Morecci and Steve Seeley‘s Hoax Hunters we are given a story that has become somewhat of a staple in comics over the last decade or so: the paranormal investigation teams. Now, most of these are about battling the supernatural, preventing the destruction of the world, secret organizations, blah, blah, blah. But it’s a hard story to tell when you have titles like Hellboy and the many associated spin-offs that have seemingly mastered this subgenre to be compared to. Hoax Hunters though, has a twist.

In the comic, Hoax Hunters is a reality TV show about three investigators (with some others who assist, like an astronaut suit full of crows named “˜Murder’) who debunk the weird, terrifying, supernatural, and creepy for their audience. These guys go anywhere and everywhere with their camera in tow and figure out the reasonable explanation to the mystery, like the gang from Scooby-Doo. What the three don’t say on camera though, is that whenever they encounter a real paranormal or supernatural occurrence, they do everything they can to cover it up. They are the anti X-Files (there is even a poster in the office that says “I don’t want to believe”) protecting us from the Truth.

In this first volume, our investigators, Jack, the leader of the group whose father raised him in this world, Regan, a woman with telekinetic abilities, and Ken Cadaver, who is apparently dead and a psychic, find their way down to Louisiana to investigate mass animal deaths. They are being blamed on either Voodoo or a mysterious monster called The Honey Island Swamp Monster though we find later his name is Durand and he is what is called a Cryptid.

While in Louisiana, we are given some Voodoo ceremonies, hypnotized masses whose heads catch on fire!, some flashbacks, foreshadowing of multiple dimensions, and of course, the forewarning of unstoppable DOOM! But it’s pretty fun and there is a fair bit of humor along the way, though I personally think, a little more funny wouldn’t hurt.

The volume contains issues #0-5 and the art is passed around a bit, but the main bulk of the story (issues #1-4) is presented to us by Axel Medellin. Jim Ringuet opens with issue #0 and Emilio Laiso closes us out with #5. Medellin presents us some nice linework for the series, providing consistency, but I preferred Laiso’s take on the final issue of the volume. He has a great sense of high and low angles, which is perfect for this genre, and his art held a bit more depth. None of the linework here is bad, though some is more stylistic than others, which can often divide readers.

Before I summarize, I’d like to mention a little short comic at the very end of this volume about the Mothman by Jeremy Tinder. It’s simple and sweet and just the right amount of dark but also very funny. I won’t spoil anything about it, but I’d almost argue this book is worth buying just for those few pages alone.

Hoax Hunters is an interesting twist on a genre I feel is near exhausted. Even though the book has a fun take on this story though, it never quite pulled me in. It’s different from other paranormal investigation stories in some ways, but it’s also reminiscent of others. There were a few too many parallels to Hellboy for my taste. That being said, they have to start somewhere and if they can manage to fence off a little corner of this subgenre and identify themselves a bit more clearly, we could have a nice addition to one of comics newer traditions.

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