cover image Freaks of the Heartland

Freaks of the Heartland

Steve Niles and Greg Ruth. Dark Horse, $29.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-59582-968-9

Like so many great stories that feature characters who are seen, for lack of a better term, as “freaks,” this six-issue collection by Niles (30 Days of Night) and Ruth (Conan) asks the reader to consider the age-old question of who the real freaks among us are. The story examines the relationship between two brothers, Trevor and Will Owen, the latter a monstrous humanoid who, though only six years old, towers over his slightly older brother and is possessed of strange and unusual powers. No one but Trevor really understands his brother’s true nature, however, since Will has been locked away since birth. When Trevor tries to protect Will from their father, events are set in motion that will bring the pair face to face with a secret that their community has harbored for many years. Ruth’s ability to bring his brand of realism to both the mundane and the phantasmagoric in Niles’s narrative is precisely what makes the story so compelling. Some readers may think the story needs further development, but this one is a case of “less is more.” (July)