Erica Slaughter has a lead; now it’s time to gather some weaponry and track down a monster. What will she find by the shore of Lake Michigan? Find out in Something is Killing the Children #4 from BOOM! Studios.
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Werther Dell’Edera
Colorist: Miquel Muerto
Letterer: Andworld Design
Editor: Eric Harburn
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 11, 2019
Previously in Something is Killing the Children: The monster in Archer’s Peak, which adults cannot see, kills more children. Erica, the monster hunter, is taken in for questioning and does not make a good impression when she interrogates the police as much as they interrogate her. She convinces the Sheriff that she will be able to stop the killings, and he reluctantly sets her free to go about her business and gives her the name and location of the first child who went missing, which might be just the lead she needs!
CHILDHOOD IS HARDLY IDYLLIC, BUT…
Something is Killing the Children #4 opens with Erica shopping for weapons. You have to admit, she makes an impression. She browses through the local home improvement store looking for a chainsaw – not a professional chainsaw, but rather a cheap one that cuts and keeps on cutting no matter what. And it has to be cordless. James jubilantly finds pruning shears.
She’s not the only one. Tommy stops by his father’s house – his father is not doing well either – and steaks his gun. At the same time, the Sheriff talks with the coroner, who happens to be his brother, at the scene of the latest deaths. They handle this differently; Tim, the coroner, uses black humor to cope. But the fact of the matter is that this is like nothing they’ve ever seen before. The bodies are horribly mutilated; there’s blood all over; there’s a hole in the wall. Yet there are no tracks and nothing in the house is out of place.
Erica and James have a conversation about monsters. James starts by insisting they aren’t real, but we know, as Erica does, that they are, and he’s seen one. Then he insists he doesn’t believe in monsters. Erica counters with a discussion of the difference between knowing and believing, and interestingly, James can see monsters (as do other children) because they’re children and their brains have not developed enough to forget them. James desperately wants to help her, to do anything against this monster. She lets him come close to where she thinks its den is but insists that he stay outside with the extra gear.
One of the Sheriff’s men is keeping an eye on Erica. The Sheriff radios in and, oddly, tells him not to follow her wherever she’s going. He should just let her do whatever it is she’s doing. He doesn’t know, as we do, that the Sheriff just got a phone call from someone who knows about Erica. As the officer gets ready to follow Erica anyway, but Tommy comes up behind him and knocks him out, and he follows Erica into the cave she has found.
THE EYES SAY IT ALL
One of the striking images in Something is Killing the Children #4 is Erica Slaughter’s eye. One eye is always under her hair, we only ever see one of them, bright green and heavily outlined in dark makeup. It’s usually impassive, implacable, contained, so when we see her angry or surprised, it is striking.
The art uses interesting angles for many of the scenes, looking up at people or down at them. I like how that makes it feel that we periodically see characters through someone else’s eyes. This is an intimate story, and this pulls us right into the emotional tension.
BOTTOM LINE: SLOW BUT INEXORABLE
Something is Killing the Children #4 is not just about the fighting and action of hunting monsters. Rather, it is about a hunter tracking her prey and trying to work her way to getting every advantage she can have on it. The pace is slower, but it is full of tension. We also are not constantly bombarded by gobs of gore; this is a book that shows you some of the awfulness but leaves plenty of room for your imagination.
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Something is Killing the Children #4
If only children can see monsters, why can Erica still see them? And who is the mysterious man who gets the police off her tail?