Chico Comics Page Review: Sonitus #1 (of 3)
Publisher: Alterna Comics
Writer: Cody Sousa & Dan Sheppard
Illustrator: Cecilia Lo Valvo
Colorist: Dee Cunniffe
Editor: Nicole Airey
Reviewer: Chris “The Bearded Wonder” Natale
Right off the bat, this comic immediately sets a chilling tone. The cover poses the question, “Can you hear it…?” in a font that looks like someone tore their hands through a chalkboard. Within the first few pages, we are introduced to Ben, a guy who is heading to an old abandoned house he played in as a kid to get some peace and quiet because he suffers from tinnitus. The writers, Sousa and Sheppard, define this as “a sensation of noise (such as a ringing or roaring) only detectable by the individual affected by the condition.” This makes it seem as though the noise in Ben’s ears can be compared to a trick of the mind, something the writers play around with a lot in this book. “Sontius” itself actually means a loud sound or noise, which I thought was a great choice for a title because it fits the story so well. This was my first time reading a comic by Alterna Comics and it was a different experience, but in a good way. There isn’t a whole lot of dialogue to this comic, but Sousa and Sheppard surround Ben and the house in a lot of mystery, creating the desire to want to know more. For example, at one point Ben talks about how the city was going to tear the house down, but “the land wouldn’t allow it.” Spooky, right? When Ben is actually in the house, at one point a supernatural creature with dozens of eyeballs appears in front of him. I could not tell if it was real or just a figment of his imagination, but sometimes by giving readers just a little bit of information to go off of is enough. It certainly was enough for me to want to read the second issue.
Cecilia Lo Valvo’s art is perfect for this story because it gives it a creepy, dark and mysterious vibe which is what I assume they are going for. It was a very rugged and sketchy style. The shadows used made each page creepier than the last. I like her style because it really set the mood, especially her art on the cover. It screams “turn back, or else” so kudos to her for nailing it. A lot of the story is also told through the art, which was cool, but the only problem I had was that, at times, I could not tell what was happening in the smaller panels. Some were clearer and some were darker than others. Dee Cunniffe’s color usage was another great reason why this comic was so creepy and horrific. Cunniffe uses a lot of dark colors and tones. It’s almost like the comic gets darker as the character is finding out what is really going in the house. The comic does not say who the letterer is so I am going to assume that Nicole Airey helped with this and she succeeded. I had no problem following along with the story and it made for a quick, enjoyable read.
Overall, I liked a lot of things about this comic. The writers did not give us a lot to go off of, but like I said, sometimes less is more. The art by Lo Valvo really fits the mysterious horror feel that this book is giving off. Cunniffe’s colors only complement it further. I am a fan of horror and mysteries so this book rests nicely within the dark corners of my mind. Even if you are not a fan of horror, I still think you would still enjoy this book for what it is. Go ahead and go to their website or visit your local comic shop to check out Alterna Comics. You might just be adding another book to your pull list. Sonitus #1 is available for the great price of $1.50 so check it out and see for yourself if this book is for you.
After suffering from what doctors think is tinnitus (a sensation of noise only detectable by the individual affected by the condition), a man is guided back to his hometown to escape the sounds in his head. He arrives at an abandoned house that he used to hang out in with his friends as a kid, but soon he discovers that this house is not all it appears to be…
Are you a fan of Hellblazer? The Conjuring? The Shining? If so, this book is for you. The writers do a great job of creating an air of mystery in this story. We don’t know much about the character Ben, but maybe we aren’t supposed to know. That might be the beauty of it. The art is a good combination of creepy, dark and mysterious. The official rating by the Bearded Wonder is a goatee on the beard scale, which is a 6/10.
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