Apparently Steve Niles and Glenn Fabry’s “Lot 13” was a mini-series that was going to be published by Wildstorm before it merged with DC. It’s good to see that DC committed to publishing it under their banner (though it does seem more fitting for Vertigo) as it’s got a ton of potential, but the first issue has a few rough edges that are frustrating and I hope to see smoothed out in the second issue.
Niles and Fabry right out of the gate begin with a horrific couple pages set in the past that make it absolutely clear what kind of a book your reading. And despite then jumping to the present day, they keep that tension and tone wonderfully. Like the best of scary movies, Nile and Fabry have primed their readers perfectly for horror and thus everyday things seems like terrors just waiting to happen. Fabry’s art is incredibly detailed and naturally quite creepy (which I intend as a compliment) and the understated colors by Adam Brown (except the jarring use of red) are a great choice.
Unfortunately, there are a few odd moments that really pulled me out of the story, which in scary stories, as we all know, can be a killer. There are a few forced things that I have trouble ever believing would happen, like kids riding the back of a closed moving van full of boxes. Plus, I’ve never seen moving vans like that have a window in the rolling door and I’ve moved across the country twice. In fact — how does a rolling door close with a fixed piece of a glass in it? Since when can an entire family of five fit all of their stuff in one small moving van? The mother references being 36, but later the husband says they’ve been waiting 30 years to buy a house of their own — so they’ve been waiting since they were about six? Yes, a couple times small details that felt wrong yanked me out of the story being told. Additionally, there is a moment when something horrifying and/or supernatural and unexplainable happens and the characters just kind of blink at it and move on. No discussion of what they have seen, no extended surprise that it’s disappeared before their eyes, nothing. Two panels later, they check into a creepy apartment building with apartments to rent by the night and send their children each into their own apartments. It was right about there that my suspension of belief fully snapped.
This is only the first issue and there are enough good things at work here that there’s plenty of time for the creators to turn it around and make this a solid little series. However, I hope in future issues they can pay more attention to the little things that really make a book work, otherwise this mini will end up feeling a bit ill-conceived and sloppy. The concept and talent here deserves, and can deliver, more.