In Something is Killing the Children #17, we continue our look back at the origin story of Erica Slaughter!  Taken in after the killing of her parents, Erica is taken in by the Order of St George.  How does she cope? Find out in your next mighty Major Spoilers review!


Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Werther Dell’Edera
Letterer:  Andworld Design
Colorist: Miquel Muerto
Editor:  Eric Harburn
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 24th, 2021

PREVIOUSLY in Something is Killing the Children:  Something, indeed, has been killing the children.  Monsters!  As the first story arc of this popular series came to a close, the creators have taken a hard turn and gone back to the very beginning and examine where Erica Slaughter came from, what made her into the monster fighting machine she is, and what sacrifices she had to make along the way.


You can tell why this series is as loved and popular as it is with Something is Killing the Children #17.  The story, the characters and the artwork all come together to depict a moving story about a child whose life has been mercilessly torn apart and is desperately trying to come to terms with all that upheaval, and is failing badly at doing so.  Something is Killing the Children #17 is a real masterclass in telling a story that conveys emotion, humor, pathos and a rage at a world that would inflict this kind of hurt on children.

After transitioning out of the original storyline, Something is Killing the Children #17 is the second issue dealing in the background of popular character, Erica Slaughter.  Her origin story is much like any hero – the reaction to the massacre of her family, then falling in with a plucky band of well trained people who’ve dedicated their lives to the secret mission of hunting and killing monsters.

At its heart, Something is Killing the Children #17 is a traumatising look at young Erica.  The way Werther Dell’Edera has depicted her is really heartbreaking.  She’s usually surrounded by other people who loom over her.  The one panel where she is alone, there’s a painting of a fire breathing dragon over her right shoulder.  She is meant to look weak and pathetic, because at this moment, with her family dead, she is weak and pathetic.  The way her hair hangs over one eye, with the other eye drawn to look terrified, also demonstrates Dell’Edera craft, but also Erica’s vulnerability.  All heroes have their low points, so the emphasis here is that at some point, Erica, with a lot of struggle, will overcome.  But it is going to be a slog.

Elsewhere, Dell’Edera’s artwork does a lot of heavy lifting.  With comics, character comes from dialog, but mostly from the art.  Characters seated at a bar drinking, give each other sidelong glances in response to comments made.  A hand on a shoulder here, a downed drink there, all go a long way to demonstrating mood and emotion.  It really is an excellent display.


The hottest comic today takes a hard turn into the backstory of everyone’s favorite character, Erica Slaughter!
Something is Killing the Children #17 is something of a holding pattern for the new direction this series has taken, after all the events of the previous issue.  But this is important, as it allows Tynion to begin fleshing out the new characters the audience is slowly being introduced to.  Not all of it is handed to us on a platter, we are, as in the bar scene, meant to tease out what is going on in the Order by inference.  Plenty of genre fiction will bury you in info-dumps a mile high, but Tynion, as he does with his other stand out series, The Department of Truth, treats the audience like adults, and allows them to come up with their own interpretation of events at their own pace.


Overall, Something is Killing the Children #17 is an excellent issue in a great run of comics for an entertaining, spooky and provoking series.  The artwork is stellar, and the writing subtle.  Tynion is on a real tear, with the aforementioned The Department of Truth, also playing in a similar sphere, with compelling characters and an intriguing set up.  Come for the monster mashing, and stay for the nuance take on characters under enormous pressure.

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Something is Killing the Children #17

Excellent issue!

Something is Killing the Children #17 lays out more background on a fan favorite character, allowing us a glimpse of the shell shocked child who would one day grow into a monster killer.

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About Author

Romantic. Raconteur. Kangaroo rustler. Sadly, Rob is none of these. Rob has been a follower of genre since at least the mid-1970s. Book collector, Doctor Who fan, semi-retired podcaster, comic book shop counter jockey, writer (once!) in Doctor Who Magazine and with pretensions to writing fantasy and horror, Rob is the sort of fellow you can happily embrace while wondering why you're doing it. More of his maudlin thoughts can be found at his ill-tended blog

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