Erica has found the monster’s lair, but Tommy (who cannot see the monster) has caught up with her. Can anyone win in the coming standoff? Find out in Something is Killing the Children #5 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: January 29, 2020
Previously in Something is Killing the Children: There has been another attack with several people killed, blood all over the house, a hole in the wall – but no tracks and no visible signs of struggle. As Erica shops for non-gun weaponry, the grieving Tommy steals his father’s gun and heads out after Erica. James tries to come to grips with the reality of monsters vs. his own fervent wish that they were not there. Erica gets a line on where the monster of Archer’s Peak must be and goes in after it.
A BATTLE AND A TWIST
Something is Killing the Children #5 is solid, in an awful kind of way. It’s one of those books where you can see some of what’s coming and your heart sinks; you just don’t want it to go there and then it does. But then we also learn some new nuggets we didn’t know before, and it is intriguing.
It opens with James sitting outside the cave. He wanted to help. Maybe he wanted adventure, but the reality is that anyone who cares is not going to drag a kid along on a monster hunt. It sucks. It’s cold. And then he sees the mutilated body of a dead animal, possibly a dog, and he has a flashback to the death of his friends. And then to make things truly weird, the stuffed octopus starts talking to him, mocking him, blaming him, and encouraging him to follow Erica. This is one of those moments where you don’t want him to do it, but you know he is.
In the cave, Tommy confronts Erica. She has a chainsaw; he has the gun. She also knows the monster is behind him, but he’s too old to see it. He edges closer and she races past him with the chainsaw, drawing blood in an attack that makes no sense to him. He steels his resolve and shoots at her, hitting the monster instead. As Erica fights him off, the gun goes off again, this time hitting James. Tommy starts reacting to all the stress as Erica tries to shut him up.
And then a little girl, still alive, approaches them. She is Asian, named Bian, and is not a child Erica knew about. As Erica picks her up, Tommy sees the body of his little sister Sophie. This, too, is traumatic. Erica needs his help and injects him with something that will let him see the monsters. And we see a momentary vision of a boardroom of people with toothy face masks, bright green eyes, and stuffed animals. Whatever group Erica is part of is really weird, and suddenly it feels like we’ve only discovered the tip of the iceberg.
Erica gets Tommy to carry James and Bian out of the cave and to safety. The officer that Tommy knocked out last issue has come around and the first thing he sees is Tommy and the kids. He takes them back to town as Erica, preparing to kill, takes a phone call.
THE COLOR OF BLOOD
I like the immediacy of the art in Something is Killing the Children #5. This issue is full of tension and the start of the big fight. Everyone is under a lot of stress, to the point of being on (or over) the edge, and we see it. This plays out terrifically as Tommy confronts Erica. There are so many things that pull this scene together. Erica tries to remain calm, but her attention is split between Tommy and the monster. A cool touch is that when we’re seeing from Erica’s point of view, we see the monster. When we’re with Tommy’s point of view we don’t, and there are some dramatic moments in this fight where there is no monster and it feels creepy.
All of this takes place at night or in the cave, lit by a glow stick. The colors are dark and muted, and what really stands out is the red of blood, echoed by the red of the sound effects. Against the greenish backdrop the blood immediately draws the focus and leads the eye from panel to panel. Even from a distance, we see right away that James was shot. Bian, when they find her, has smears of blood on her. It’s a good substitute for outright gore, this constant reminder that there has been so much bloodshed.
BOTTOM LINE: TAKING A TURN TOWARD THE WEIRDER
Something is Killing the Children #5 introduces a few new details into the story, and makes it look like this is more than just a story about killing monsters. The stakes are certainly higher, and there’s some good character development here too.
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Something is Killing the Children #5
Why are there monsters in Archer’s Peak, and just who – or what – is Erica Slaughter?