by Ian Edginton and Alex Sanchez
It was a dark and stormy night. Sometimes tropes and clichés got to be that way because they make for effective story telling ingredients. Ian Edginton’s story adaptation of the video game of the same title opens in such atmospherics, finding it main characters out for a drive in the middle of a late night storm. She is talking at a stack of “Missing” poster signs on her front seat before her car breaks down. Readers are not afforded much information before the story goes south and the protagonist is left to put her faith in an unknown person. Adaptations can certainly be tricky, but Edginton and artist Alex Sanchez have some strong plans at play in the first chapter of The Evil Within.
Before long, Dana finds herself wandering through the woods towards a rundown diner and gas station in search of some help for her recently broken down car. The, quiet and abandoned backwoods diner soon becomes the setting for a terrifying encounter as Paul comes running at her shouting to run as he is chased by a group of deformed people. What transpires over the next several pages is a lot of running, shouting and grotesque looking individuals giving chase to the story’s leads. At this point in the story, readers have yet to even learn their names, but the pressing matter of the threat takes over and it makes for a decent hook into the new world. Suddenly, however, Dana collapses and finds herself elsewhere. A strange receptionist informs her that the girl she was looking for has been gone along with other strange information before she comes to, facing Paul, having moved a ways without realizing it.
At this point, Edginton has begun to lay in some rather effective and interesting mysteries. During an earlier exchange the characters recognize that they are from vastly different areas of the country and neither remembers how they could have gotten to where they are. This, then paired with the odd encounter following Dana’s collapse, turn the pacing and intrigue of the story away from being an action story featuring zombie-like creatures, and into something a bit grander. Edginton includes a few other moments like these over the remainder of the story and it definitely rounds the book out as something much more than a slasher story. As the main characters try to get their wits about them and understand what may have transpired, they find themselves chase by stranger and stranger creatures through this facility.
Alex Sanchez’s art design is a strong choice to compliment their eerie and violent story. The moodiness of the opening sequence and the setting of the diner are improved by the pencil work and coloring on display. Some of the set designs and creature renderings are pretty well crafted and Sanchez is able to mirror the tone, whether mysterious or chaotic, of the script. Several times throughout the issue, however, moments of high action are sullied by muddiness in the blacks and colors. Because much of the story takes place in dark or dimly lit settings, differentiating some of the images becomes difficult and it does take a toll on the enjoyment and pace of the story
Fortunately, the script and a large majority of the art function well and create a rather enjoyable and tense first issue. Edginton raises a number of intriguing questions throughout in a way that allows the intensity and imminent danger of their surroundings to persist while still building out larger aspects of this new world. If the art cleans up a bit, The Evil Within looks to be a fun new horror story.