I have a tendency to make fun of (read: scream with psychotic rage at) people who watch reality shows. It’s true, folks, the zombie apocalypse is coming. But it won’t be the undead or a virus. It’s going to be the brains poisoned by television. But, I do have my own media vice, and that would be paranormal investigation shows. I know these monsters and ghosts aren’t real (maybe). I know the methods used are juvenile and unscientific. But I just can’t help but hope that one of these charismatic fools will get lucky and catch something on film.
So, what if monsters and ghosts and such were real? And what if a television show attempted to prove to all of us that they were just cleverly constructed hoaxes? And what if the crew of that show had a secret off-screen agenda to hide the truth from the public?
We gave you a preview of the new series from Image Comics a few weeks back, and now we are pleased to inform you that not only does Hoax Hunters #1 live up to expectations, it sets in motion more than a few mysteries and back stories promising that this isn’t just a creature-of-the-week feature.
The story arc, Die Off Another Day, opens in the bayous of Louisiana. The lovely, red-haired (points from me there) Regan is giving the rundown on a mysterious rash of mass animal deaths in the swamps. Of course, this is just an elaborate hoax, dear viewers. We all know that. But when the crew runs across the remains of dozens of animals, off camera of course, leader Jack is struck with a sudden sense of sick nostalgia. He has seen this before.
And that’s all I am going to tell you about the story. We learn a little bit more about Regan’s past, the group has to contend with the suspicions of local law enforcement, a new destination is planned, and a twist out of left field in the last few pages will not only open possibilities for this story arc, but for the entire universe of Hoax Hunters. You will know it when you see it.
But enough about the story, let’s talk about these characters. The crew is made up of Regan, Jack, Ken, and Murder. The characters are archetypes, but very well-written ones. Their dialogue feels real, and they never fall into the realm of stereotype. Some of them even have paranormal powers, but they seem to view these powers as more of a curse than a blessing. It is what makes them different from the norm, and it is their job to hide what is different. This makes for some intriguing moments of character conflict, both inner and amongst the group. The writing also succeeds in keeping the reader informed, but still leaving many elements a mystery. This is rarely an easy thing to do, as you can either leave the audience confused with the lack of information, or give too much away too soon. Do I have hypotheses as to where this series will go? Of course. But the writing keeps me intrigued and wanting more without revealing too much. In addition, a nod also has to be given to the art, which is detailed, well framed, and does an excellent job of pacing the story and dialogue.
The only thing I would recommend is that you pick up Issue #0. While this is an excellent first issue, some of the background, specifically the origins of Murder, will make a lot more sense after reading #0. However, I will not hold this against Hoax Hunters, as it was Issue #0 that led to the creation of the Hoax Hunters series.
Bottom line, I am very excited for this series. It has characters who are at once real people and powerful protagonists, the artwork is top notch, and nothing catches my attention faster than a scifi/horror storyline with mystery and monsters. If you’ve ever loved watching a paranormal investigation show, thrown a science textbook at the screen, or both, then be sure to check out Hoax Hunters #1 when it is released on July 11th.