REVIEW: Abattoir #1

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Abattoir takes place in the late ‘80s and despite the economic prosperity our nation was enjoying, Real Estate agent Richard Ashwalt is at his breaking point.

Abattoir #1 (6 issue limited series)
Created by Darren Lynn Bousman
Concept by Michael Peterson
Written by Rob Levin & Troy Peteri
Illustrated by Bing Cansino
Coloring by Andrei Pervukhin
Lettering by Troy Peteri
Cover by Tae Young Choi
Published by Radical Comics

Abattoir takes place in the late ‘80s and despite the economic prosperity our nation was enjoying, Real Estate agent Richard Ashwalt is at his breaking point. Financial stresses coupled with marital strain have him in desperate state. If only he could sell the Mitchell House! It’s a beautiful 2-story home with a new kitchen renovation (including granite countertops), a great backyard, crown molding, bay windows…everything a potential buyer could ever want. Except for one small detail: it’s the scene of a grisly murder. As it turns out, the home’s former occupant, Jay Mitchell, went on a long expedition off the short bridge of Crazy and sliced up several people at his son’s own birthday party. Happy birthday, kid!

Meet The Most Powerful Weed Whacker In The History of Comics

Reader be warned, this is not a pleasant comics experience. There are some convincing reasons why Radical placed a Mature Readers note in the solicitations. Not to give away too many key plot points, but dear old dad kills his wife and child. Most of the death is distributed on panel. His weapons of choice are a big, nasty kitchen knife and a handheld late 80’s, metal-bladed weed whacker with enough power to cut through the bones and internal organs of 2 adults. Good news is that the first one killed is a clown. I never much cared for clowns.

Crime Scene, Trespassing & Beer – A Recipe For DANGER

It would seem that all of Ashwalt’s financial problems might be solved, thanks to a late night visit to the Mitchell House. Our protagonist has been drinking beers and discussing the cursed home with a longtime friend. What better time than late at night to go trudging through the vacant Mitchell home, still rife with carnage from the bloodletting? Just step past the yellow warning tape and walk right through the crime scene. Oh, and remember the beer drinking? Yup, it continues into the house. Typical Friday night, right?

Hey, It’s The Dude From Iron Maiden!

Good thing the boys turned up when they did, because a creepy old guy comes up out of the shadows and asks to be shown around. Turns out, Creepy Old Guy, aka Jebediah wants to make an offer on the property. Not only that, but he’s prepared to pay OVER asking price. Of course, there’s a catch. Hey, this is the late ‘80s: maybe he made a chunk of dough touring as the undead mascot for a UK metal band? To be fair to Jebediah, he may just have a chronic skin condition and just has the pallor of death. I assume we’ll learn more in the next 5 issues.

The creator of the book, Darren Lynn Bousman, is the same gentleman responsible for the Saw franchise. Realistic depictions of violence perpetrated on a wife and child by a patriarch of the family can be dismissed as cheap and unpalatable. In this case, call me dismissive. I like horror movies and I’ve been reading Crossed, one of the most disturbing books in the marketplace. The difference is that in the realm of the Crossed, they’re zombies and the sadism is over the top and balanced against man’s struggle to retain its humanity. Abattoir has a father ‘turn crazy’ after getting a monstrous headache, hunt, and eventually kill his wife and young son.

The dialogue is a bit campy, not all that unusual for the horror genre. Sometimes you get the sense that the writers are having some fun and injecting levity into otherwise horrifying subject matter. If that was the intended recipe for Abattoir, I’m not tasting it. I had a difficult time digesting this serving of 32 pages from Radical Comics. The interior art is excellent and the cover image provided by Tae Young Choi is outstanding. Keeping with the food theme, if this were served to me at a restaurant, I’d more than likely send it back for additional seasoning.

Abattoir earns 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Rating: ★★½☆☆