cover image The Killing Hole

The Killing Hole

Steve Niles and Trevor Denham. Storm King, $17.99 trade paper (96p) ISBN 979-8-98872-851-1

This moody entry in the Dark and Twisted series from Niles (Brynmore) serves as a remarkable example of how exemplary art can carry a story even as it begins to fall flat. Set in Fairfax County, Va., in 1979, the narrative finds defiant teenager Stewart befriending awkward new student Peter. Bonding over punk music, horror films, recreational drugs, and their hatred of school and meddling local police officers, the pair escape their tumultuous home lives by stealing wood from a lumber yard and building a fort in the forest. Peter’s railing against authority takes a more sinister turn, however, when he kills the school bully and reveals that he has a hit list—which includes Stewart’s mom. To keep Peter from destroying both their lives, Stewart takes drastic action. Narrated as a recorded confession from a dying Stewart 40 years later, the story captures the weight and anger of teenage estrangement, though it’s lacking in suspense. Still, the script’s predictable moments are saved by Denham’s delicately hatched linework and evocative coloring by Ryan Winn. Horror fans will pick this up just to bask in the angsty art. (July)