“Investigating the forgotten corners of our world, one monster at a time.”

That’s the premise behind Dept. of Monsterology, a comic series that began exploring the unexplained and unusual in its first miniseries in 2013. I loved both the concept and the execution of this book, so I highly recommended it when it first came out.

I was thrilled to find out that a second story was in the works, and the first issue of that new story arc is now available digitally at the Renegade Entertainment website. Oh, and if you missed the first miniseries, you can download the collected edition, now titled “Monsterology 101,” on the same site.

DEPT. OF MONSTEROLOGY: SABBATICALS #1 of 5
Writer: Gordon Rennie
Artist: PJ Holden
Colors: Steven Denton
Publisher: Renegade Arts Entertainment

Cover Price: $1.99

Previously in DEPT. OF MONSTEROLOGY:Dept, of Monsterology returns with five more issues of monster-related mayhem! Gordon Rennie, PJ Holden, Steven Denton and Jim Campbell return to campus with the next installment of cryptozoological adventure. Sabbaticals picks up after the events of Monsterology 101, with several team members pursuing their own agendas following their near miss with apocalyptic catastrophe in China and the South Pacific.

“The Lamont Institute may have stumbled, but it takes more than death to stop their plans, and now they are aware of Samwi’s potential, she has become their quarry. Professor Tovar’s parasitic secret is leading him into the deep darkness, far from his colleagues, towards a fate that may have consequences far beyond ridding himself of his personal burden. Michael Calvary takes Team Challenger on a sojourn to sunny Scotland to investigate the apparently haunted house featured on the Sabbaticals cover, while the remaining members of Team Carnacki take two grad students to a remote South American island to discover there is a lot more than dinosaurs out to eat them.

“And of course, following Professor Booker’s revelation in Monsterology 101, he’s wasted no time getting started on his own personal quest through the now active portal.”

PICKING UP WHERE THE LAST STORY LEFT OFF

These days it’s rare when the same creative team stays on a comic I like. Hey, I’m happy if one miniseries gets done that way!

Well, the folks who brought us the previous story are back at it again, and they haven’t lost a single step! Action, adventure, surprises – there’re all in the first issue of Sabbaticals, and it’s as great a read as Monsterology 101.

We continue to learn more about the characters and the teams as they look into more oddness across the globe. Of course, Samwi remains my favorite person in the series, and she’s up to some interesting things that flow out of the last miniseries. Since she’s turned out to be quite a powerhouse, she’s attracting quite a bit of attention, and not all of it wanted.

I also am intrigued with the mystery house that was supposedly gone, but has now reappeared. What’s up with that?

Rennie’s script is fast-paced and makes the action flow out of the characters, so we care about what’s happening … just like the last miniseries!

GREAT ART THAT WORKS FOR THIS SERIES

Holden’s art once again fits the tone of Rennie’s script, and he again portrays both character and action extremely well. He portrays the surprise on the people’s faces when the house is discovered, then also has Samwi’s activity popping off the page. Oh, and the new armor for one of the characters is cool! I can’t imagine this great book without either Rennie or Holden, actually.

The colors were also well done, I thought! Depending on the situation, the colors are bright or subdued, and perfectly chosen for the situation. Cudos!

BOTTOM LINE: Even More Great Horror Storytelling!

Keeping monsters and the people who chase them both interesting is a real challenge when it comes to horror and the mysteries surrounding them all. Dept. of Monsterology: Sabbaticals handles this effortlessly, and I’m gripped from the first panel until the last, then anxious for more!

The timing for this issue couldn’t be better, what with Halloween just around the corner. It’s a horror comic done right, and it doesn’t get any better than this!

The trade paperback for this volume will be available on November 25, but you can preorder it now here. As with the first miniseries, I highly recommended it! There’s also “The Trouble with Harry” available for digital download as well, so don’t miss it!

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About Author

Wayne Hall creates the Wayne's Comics Podcast. He’s interviewed Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, John Layman, Kyle Higgins, Phil Hester, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, David Petersen, Christos Gage, Mike Grell, and Matt Kindt. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.

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