In the dead of the night of the year that bears his name, the Devil arrives at a small and unremarkable police station to collect a very special prisoner restrained for him in a holding cell. What transpires is a tale of madness and death, from which few will emerge unscathed.
One of the great things about horror is that it allows us to enjoy forbidden topics in a safe environment, tapping into the darker parts of our psyche without needing to question why the enjoyment of such depravity so appeals to us. With that in mind and with barely enough time to settle yourself, Midnight Massacre emerges fully-formed as sinister as the hell that spawned its main players.
Far from the scarlet demonic caricature he is often portrayed as, this Devil is an ordinary-looking man, terrifying instead from powerfully exuding a cultured malevolence. His every word and movement is precise and deliberate as he effortlessly invades the minds of the humans around him. As he strides down a corridor past gored corpses while speaking an exorcism rite backwards with the nonchalance a normal person would whistle, you can practically hear the faint crackle of the Lake of Fire and the echoed wailing of the damned, and smell the stench of infernal decay that follows in his wake.
A tale woven from nightmare, scrawled in blood and wreathed in shadow, the details straddle a line between unholy decadence and urban myth, faintly echoing a story you vaguely remember once hearing but cannot remember where or under what circumstances. Such is the insidious unreality in which events occur, with each panel it further feels that the setting has been torn from reality and held in some cosmic purgatory where the luckless and puny mortals, their faces worn with exhaustion and resignation, await their sentencing for existences spent unlived. Panel backgrounds are largely created by interlocking slashes of black pen, as though the story itself is emerging from the infernal night for only a brief time, before slinking back into the forbidding darkness that is all it can be sustained by.
A story of makeshift magic in the modern day and damnation by one’s own actions, this first issue of Midnight Massacre opens up a realm of possibilities, and one whose evil can just as easily be all too human as it can supernatural.
MIDNIGHT MASSACRE #1 / AUTHOR: JOHN FARMAN / ARTIST: MIKE DABRO / PUBLISHER: VITAL PUBLISHING / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW