How did Erica come to join the House of Slaughter and become a monster hunter? Find out in Something is Killing the Children #16 from BOOM! Studios.

SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN #16

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: May 26, 2021

Previously in Something is Killing the Children: We saw Erica, a monster hunter from the Order of St. George, in action. In this world, monsters can be seen only by children or people from the Order. While Erica seems to have a vested interest in protecting as many people as possible, the Order has an equally deep interest in maintaining its secrecy. But how did Erica get her start with the Order?

A REMARKABLE YOUNG GIRL

Something is Killing the Children #16 takes us back to the day Erica is discovered by the Order of St. George. She is twelve years old, covered in blood, and kneeling by a dead body. Near her, someone is on the phone arguing with someone else. But what we find out is that whatever happened here, a young, untrained Erica killed the monster herself. The woman who found her (Jessica) wants to bring her in, but that is not the way the Order does things and she gets some push back. We also see Erica’s octopus toy sitting on the floor and growling, which is rather creepy.

Jessica gets off the phone and tells Erica she did well. She also explains the monster has been captured and is inside her toy. She gets a plastic container to stow it in and offers Erica a choice. She can stay here and wait for Child Protective Services to take care of her, or she can go with Jessica and learn how to fight monsters.

It’s a long drive from there to Chicago, which is where Erica wakes up. Jessica notes that Erica is very observant. She tries to tell her about the difficulties she is going to face at the House of Slaughter. She is going into a world where everyone else has been raised to the traditions, and she will be an outsider. She is going to face bullies, and life will not be fair. Kudos to Jessica for being honest. When they get out of the car, Erica meets Aaron, who is rude to her. Erica asks if he is one of the bullies. He isn’t. She asks if she can bully him. Jessica tells her yes, but in a friendly way.

Then Cecilia steps out. There is no love lost between her and Jessica. She says Erica cannot come in through the front door because she hasn’t been inducted yet. Oh, and she’s going to start induction the very next day. She comes across as thinking that Erica’s being here is enough of an exception and she certainly doesn’t deserve any special treatment. Erica asks if Cecilia is one of the bullies, and Jessica tells her yes.

Then we learn that in the House of Slaughter, everyone must wear a bandana at all times. The experienced members wear the ones with teeth on them. As a new recruit, Erica gets a plain black one. Already we have learned so much, and it is fascinating. If you have never read the series, this is a great jumping on point. Starting from the beginning to see what makes Erica who she is promises to be intriguing.

THE COLOR OF NEW BLOOD

The art of Something is Killing the Children #16 does an incredible job of capturing Erica. Some of her trademark look we have come to know is present in her as a child. Her blonde hair frequently falls over one of her huge, green eyes, for example. Although at this point when she is covered in blood, she appears stunned, traumatized, trying to process the deaths of her parents and her friend. But even through this, we see her incredible determination and even some vulnerability as she soaks up Jessica’s compliment that she did really good.

The adult characters from the House of Slaughter whom we have met before are easily recognizable. It is interesting to see their conflicts as we see just how insular their Order is, how exclusive. We also get an early sense of how bringing in someone like Erica, someone who has a lot of inner strength and who is not bound by tradition, is going to shake things up. I get the feeling that there is a lot of history behind the Order, and I hope we get to peel back some of the surface of that as the story progresses.

BOTTOM LINE: WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

Something is Killing the Children #16 is a great jumping-on point and introduction to the remarkable Erica. Delving into her history and learning more about the Order of St. George is fascinating. This is a horror book well worth the read.


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Something is Killing the Children #16

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Great Jumping On Point

A fight with a monster changes and a snap decision change Erica’s life forever.

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By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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