Advent Reviews Day 9: Lot 13 #1-2 by Steve Niles

Horror isn’t my favourite genre by any means. Especially not when it comes to comics. But I’m always ready to read something different, and that’s where Steve Niles’ Lot 13 ongoing series for DC Comics comes in. Lot 13 is straight-up horror with ghosts and brutal murders and so on, not the kind of comic I’d normally read. I read these two issues just today, and since I needed some sort of different reviewing fare for my Advent Calendar, I thought I’d talk briefly about this series.

Lot13Comp1This 5-issue limited series starts off in Fairfax County, Virginia in the year 1670, inside a courtroom where Robert Richard Wyatt is posthumously sentenced to punishment for the “mortal sin and the crime of suicide”. His dead kids and wife, whom he had already killed, are also sentenced similarly. These early panels show a very brutal side of the Fairfax County residents as they pretty much manhandle the corpses of the Wyatts and bury them somewhere near the court building. Switch to the modern day, and the Nelson family, which is shifting houses and ends up presumably at the same place where the Wyatts were buried all those years ago. The only “change” is that the lot is now home to an apartment complex. The Nelson’s stay at the complex since their new home is not ready for a move-in. The overnight stay turns ugly when Austin Nelson disappears and the family keeps encountering ghosts with their heads blown out.

The horror aspect of Lot 13 isn’t one that’s particularly shocking. It’s mostly the same kind of horror fare that you would find in any typical slasher film. The difference is that Niles’ writing is pretty good and in the first two issues he teases out the backstory of the ghosts and the interactions between the Wyatts and the Nelson, rather than presenting it all up-front, combined with cliche dialogues. The writing of the series if fairly solid, and it’s kept my interest so far. The writing is definitely the main selling point of the series for me so far.

The artwork, by Glen Fabry, is where the series fails to work for me as much. The pencils are mostly good, but often the expressions that Fabry gives to the characters are just weird. Weird in the sense that the good guys turn into creepy, smug stalkers. Adam Brown’s colours are also inconsistent. In one panel you’ll get sharp colours with clear palettes, in another panel it’ll be as if the artist did a pass with a smudging tool. Ruins the feel of the comic! I do have to say that I love the covers, especially the first one, which is very creepy once you start noticing the details!

Decent horror story with some good cliffhangers, disappointing art. That’s what Lot 13 boils down to so far.

Rating: 7.5/10

Posted on December 9, 2012, in 2012 Reading Challenge, 2012 Writing Challenge, Book Reviews, Comics Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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