Never underestimate legends … especially when they may be more than superstition.
Writer: Brian Studler
Artwork: Deivis Goetten
Colors: Maxflan Araujo
Letters: Fabio Amelia
What They Say:
Massachusetts locals know that the Bridgewater Triangle is the site of many paranormal occurrences. It is said to be filled with giant snakes, sightings of UFOs, evil vengeful creatures, and even ghostly hauntings. As six college freshmen are soon to find out, some of the legends contained within the borders are anything but … and making it out of the Triangle proves to be more difficult than finding your way in.
Content (please note that portions of review may contain spoilers):
Danny and his friends are taking a field trip to Hockomock Swamp located in the Bridgewater Triangle of Massachusetts, but as he tries to explain his fascination with the area all they can do is make jokes and complain about having some breakfast. After stopping at the local diner a familiar red headed waitress asks the group why they are in the area and with the technical explanation she understands his interest but has one warning: do not spend the night in the swamp. Although the rest are wary of local legends and wish to heed the woman’s advice, Danny insists on ignoring it since he is more concerned of learning the truth behind these tales. But as they discuss the wrongs done against the Wampanoag people who lived here and how in their anger invoked a dark god named Hobomock, they quickly discover they are lost and now have no choice but to camp in this forbidden area.
After setting up camp and relaxing before a warm fire, the friends have Danny tell them about various lore and monsters of the area but one inhabitant sparks their interest – pudwudgies are mischievous creatures who roam the marshes and for the most part harmless unless provoked. The night progresses with more stories of about the area but they finally decide to turn in, but one couple is not interested in sleeping but other nocturnal pursuits, but there is not enough room in the cramped tent. Going against their better judgment Jeff and Terry wander off into the forboding darkness until they discover an abandoned summer camp and decide to go exploring, as they roam what are supposedly rotting cabins an odd event occurs – a discarded rubber ball bounces into their path. While they may think it was just the wind after searching the rooms their wanton desires come back but the mood is broken with another toy rolling across the floor. With anger taking over Jeff shouts into the night to find nothing, however as he comes back Terry hears something scurrying unseen around the dark corners with frustration made worse as the intruder begins to laugh at their escapades. Taking up the closet weapon the pair decide to face their opponent … but are they ready to see what has followed them from the haunted woods?
When we were first introduced to this title via Grimm Universe Presents Fall 2019, it was safe to assume the series would be shaped around Wampanoag Native American lore, however writer Brian Studler strangely takes the title in a new direction with mixed results. Although the tale does touch upon the prior short in passing, this appears to be the only mention and permits him to draw upon other creatures which inhabit the area thus falling in line with antagonist Danny’s cryptid fascination since the character appears on the last page of the introductory story. While this departure may allow him to widen the foundation to the Bridgewater Triangle, it also lessens the impact of what was initiated before via native history and concentrate on occurrences within the swamp. Even if this expands the range of materials instead of concentrating on the slaughter itself, the path which Studler takes makes the initial issue seem like something gleaned from a Friday the 13th movie, complete with a couple sneaking way for a nighttime rendezvous in abandoned summer camp and something stalking them. It is then where we fall into the same scenario of people attacking what they don’t understand and though he does allow for a touching moment by giving the creatures human sympathy, you can predict what will happen next. From there we are given a climactic scene which will hopefully be the last and future issues will present readers something which is unexpected and welcomed all as we are submerged within the cruelty of the swamp.
Even with a formulaic story one cannot deny it is the stunning opening page of fantastic artwork from Deivis Goetten which grabs our attention and made all the more phenomenal thanks to Maxflan Araujo’s beautiful array of sunlight playing off shadows that allows the nuances of the illustrations to stand out as we bathe in the sensational synergy of artistic disciplines. The gripping arrangement of darkness dominating each component gives the display a sinister energy as our eyes wander in fascination to delineate everything we may see and those which we may subconscious notice to give a hint as to what is expected in the following issues. But as we return to the spontaneity of teenagers bickering the singular element which denotes this is a Grimm Tales of Terror title presents herself in all her gorgeous red-headed glory – the luscious embodiment of Death herself … Keres. One could not allow this series to exist if not for this goddess to make an foreboding appearance to signal something sinister is coming and this one is one of her most intimidating scenes to date. Watching the signature reversed black and white text allows us to know she is here, but the alluring yet pessimistic smile signals trouble as she warns the cocky teens but of course all is but ignored. And while the narrative does slide down into the expected, it does not mean this talented team can neglect the breathtaking ambiance of this forbidden place, allowing for subtle details to spring forth from the growth with an amazing palette of colors and textures to makes us forget for a moment this is a flat dimensional medium. But it is only as night falls do creatures begin to shine their curious sight upon the group and we are treated to the notion curiosity comes in small packages. The absence of light allows the silhouette and touches of white for claws and fangs to stand out magnificently against the dominance of normalcy … presenting the audience fuel for nightmares yet to come.
This premiere issue may have its faults but the presentation of an interesting story and breathtaking artistry allows readers to ignore this stumble and hope for the best in the future. Grimm Tales of Terror Presents: The Bridgewater Triangle has a solid foundation which permits this fantastic team to create unique ideas that are unexpected for the series by basing the title within a real place and thus grounding the stories partially in reality. While the narrative may fall back on clichéd premises, it is the promise of authentic lore and history that allows us to hope for more effective thrills yet to come.
Age Rating: T (for Teens)
Released By: Zenescope
Release Date: September 25, 2019