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Silent Hill: Sinner's Reward #1

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2008
By: Bruce Logan

Tom Waltz
Steph Stamb
IDW Publishing
EDITOR's NOTE: Silent Hill: Sinner's Reward #1 will appear in stores on February 27.

Exclamation: “Jack and Jill went up the…Silent Hill?!”

Explanation: It starts out simply enough with two lovers making a run from their past. Given that their past involves the mob, it’s a given that they are being pursued and sooner or later will be tracked down. Complications ensue and the two are , invariably, led to the famous town. Given what the town is, the story doesn’t even get to the ‘Welcome to Silent Hill’ board before the bizarre starts to happen. Yet, given what is at stake, Jack, the assassin Romeo of our adventure, ventures on into the hell-pit that is Silent Hill.

Examination: Anyone who has played the video games, watched the movie or read comics with the Silent Hill name on it, will know what to expect (and look forward to) in Silent Hill: Sinner’s Reward. The Silent Hill franchise is one that is creepy, even by the horror genre standards. Silent Hill is Hell on Earth, literally.

So, how does the first half of the issue and its romantic-gangster-action-thriller setting work for a Silent Hill story? Does it establish a good taking off point for the story while letting out certain (character) story background threads that could be used in the future for the town of Silent Hill to torment Jack, the male protagonist? Or does it detract from the inevitable horror-fest? After all, this is a Silent Hill story and all the romantic nothings, the flashbacks, inner monologues and whatnots; they are delays to get to the main story.

Well, all of the above.

While it would be accepted and expected (by some) to have the story start with the couple driving into Silent Hill themselves and the horror to begin in the first quarter of the issue itself, some (especially new readers) might lean towards the set-up given here. Not only does it give us background information about the two main characters, information that is sure to come into play later on, it also allows for the moment of shock when Jack comes across the monster dogs feeding off a human corpse.

For the characters themselves, the male, Jack clearly has the bigger part, at least for now. For his love interest, Jill, she is mostly eye-candy here but one with definite promise. She is the one who has brought about the change in Jack, both internally and residentially. It will be interesting to see if and how the town (and creative team) of Silent Hill uses/twists her to get to Jack.

Will these two lovers make it out of Silent Hill together? Will they have their ‘driving into the sunset’ happy ending? Or will they get consumed, forever lost? Look forward to future issues answering that, and more. I know I am.

The visuals of Silent Hill: Sinner’s Reward keep close to the general look of the Silent Hill minis and one-shots before it. Artist Steph Stamb’s style though a bit reminiscent of painted over CGI rendering has a certain life to it, which helps the story to move with fluidity that complements the overall comic experience. That being said I hope the rest of the Silent Hill residents are better defined (read: crispier lines) than the hell dogs of this issue.

Proclamation: As with the 30 Days of Night spin-offs, the Silent Hill stories start off at a rather sedate pace and build up as plot progresses. And even though it might not be particularly mind-blowing, Silent Hill: Sinner’s Reward #1 does set up a good foundation.



You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at http://www.xcave.net



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