Creepy #3

"Creepy" #3 contains six stories, five new and one from the original "Creepy" series, and the content is a little hit or miss. Some stories offer some interesting plots, while others have some great art, and the rest... not so much. What most of them lack, though, is a genuine sense of being creepy. For a horror anthology, the issue is pretty tame.

The first story by Dan Braun, Craig Haffner, and Dennis Calero begins a new serialized story upon which the cover of the issue is based. It's not the creators' fault that the cover gives away the premise of the story, but it is unfortunate since it only gets to the premise at the very end of this issue's installment. As a result, the first chapter can't help but seem drawn out and tedious. Two federal agents question a German woman about her activities during the war and slowly draw her out, revealing the truth by exposing her lies.

Taken by itself, the story is intriguing as each new lie reveals another element of truth. She shifts from very personable to antagonistic and racist as the agents continue to question her. Calero's art is stiff and so focused on realism that none of the characters fit together on the same page often. There's such an absurd element to the story that the art doesn't quite fit, especially when Calero is called upon to show strong emotional responses.

The second story is one of the weaker ones with a premise that is just silly. A Russian mobster earns a tattoo after killing members of a rival gang, but the tattoo of a demon reacts poorly with him. The writing is direct and pedestrian, but the art is interesting with longtime "Mad" artist Angelo Torres illustrating the story. Some may find it distracting to see a parody artist doing this story, but his style has a gritty, carved-out-of-stone quality that matches the types of characters in the story. Definitely a story carried by the art.

A sentiment shared somewhat with the third story, also the conclusion of a three-part serialization. Jason Shawn Alexander's sketchy, loose style works perfectly with the creepier elements of the story. Jude has killed his mother and has a talent for making dark fantasies come true, but, when his mother comes back from the dead, he must confront her. Not everything is explained here, but that is to the story's advantage since Alexander's art is suggestive and dark enough to make it more than worthwhile. Joe Harris peppers the tale with some twisted and messed up stuff, especially the help people want that's twisted by Jude. The end of the story is somewhat ambiguous, but this is probably the best story in the issue.

It's only competition is an epistolary story about a man sent to Mexico by his company to oversee the production of leather jackets. Each week, he sends home a letter to his family detailing his time there and each letter shows him slipping further and further away as he learns that the factory is manned by zombies. He never comes out and says it, but it's made clear in the art, creating a strong dissonance through juxtaposition by Kevin Ferrera. The ending is weak, but the overall story is strong.

The issue is closed out with a very short story about werewolves that's easy to overlook and the reprint story, which is interesting in the question it raises: why would a man so against killing make a disintegration gun? The ending somewhat answers the question, but not really. But, it's a serviceable story in a serviceable issue. Fans of horror comics should find something here, but it's not a comic worth seeking out otherwise.

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