Staff Pick (August12): The Hive
Jul 22, 2012
PREVIEWS Page #332
In Shops: 10/10/2012
In this tense continuation of last year’s darkly fragmented X’ed Out, protagonist Doug slowly circles a narrative void—the unexplained source of his head wound. Even as he retreats to a menial job in his grotesque TinTin-inspired fantasy world, Doug’s ominous reality is revealed through pages of flashbacks and dreams. One character presents Doug with a comic book, pleading, “It’s pretty obvious that something really, really awful happened, but what?” This is the core problem of Doug’s story, one he struggles to address indirectly rather than accept as real.
Horror’s thrall is the need to see or experience what repels us, and Burns’ story is shaping up to be a virtuoso effort in that field. Doug is indirectly battling his own coping mechanism, forcing himself to look behind a curtain that hides something terrible. There are clues readers follow, with growing dread, as we dissect the symbolism of Doug’s fantasy. Like a dirty, malformed mash-up of Memento and Through the Looking Glass, Burns’ new work is one nightmare that will only reveal its demons through waking.
~ Kate Henning