cover image Riven


Bo Hampton and Robert Tinnell. Dark Horse, $17.99 trade paper (188p) ISBN 978-1-59582-982-5

This energetic werewolf story starts out promisingly, but later devolves into some disappointingly tortured plot mechanics. Teenage adoptee Katy has a mysterious accident and ends up in a coma for several years. Her doctors monitor unusual brain activity for a few hours every 29 days. Upon waking, Katy has a series of visions: a wolf is on a killing spree. This first half is a deceptively simple story about youth and femininity interrupted by a mysterious terror. Things get more complicated, linking Katy’s visions to her native Romania and the legend of the varcolac. Hampton and Tinnell’s biggest innovation is in applying the werewolf legend to a female protagonist and dramatizing the impact of Katy’s dormant lycanthropy upon the sexual development forestalled by her coma. However, these more interesting ideas are abandoned fairly quickly in favor of a fast-paced but tangled third act that crams far too much belated exposition into what should be a straightforward chase sequence. Hampton’s appealing, realistic art harks back to classic Universal horror films of the 1930s, effectively capturing the atmospherics of the “old country.” Old-fashioned horror fans will find Riven comfortably familiar, while others may find it too ragged at the edges. (Aug.)