cover image The Last Halloween: Children (The Last Halloween #1)

The Last Halloween: Children (The Last Halloween #1)

Abby Howard. Iron Circus, $25 paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-9458-2066-3

On Halloween night, 10-year-old Mona must forego trick-or-treating when her nonbinary parent opts out of chaperoning to contact their late wife at a séance. That night, the mystical Phagocyte, which “protects and preserves the balance between the worlds,” becomes incapacitated, leaving monsters—each of which connect to, and have the power to subsume, a human counterpart—to roam outside their shadow dimension. While fleeing her own monster after it appears suddenly in her house, Mona becomes an unwilling hero, setting off with vampire Ringley, ghoul Shirley, and living sailor doll Robert to locate the Phagocyte’s son and ask him to restore the worlds’ order. Howard’s (The Crossroads at Midnight) detailed black-and-white line art packs in sarcastic, brutalist comedy—“I’m a ten year old child, I will die very quickly,” Mona proclaims to her powerful comrades—around truly gruesome moments, including decapitation and flailing entrails. Underneath the nonstop gags in this series starter exists an endearingly emotional journey about a child reconciling herself to the weight of the world thrust upon her. Ages 13–up. (Oct.)