An Otherworldly Escapist Experience At The Ultimate Cost In Bone Parish Vol. 1

by Brendan M. Allen

Cullen Bunn (Empty Man, The Unsound) returns to BOOM! Studios with a chilling necromantic horror story.

A new drug is sweeping through the streets of New Orleans—one made from the ashes of the dead. Wars are being fought over who will control the supply, while the demand only rises. While the crime families wage war, users begin to experience terrifying visions of the dead coming back to life—through them.

In Boom! Studios’ Bone Parish Volume 1, Cullen Bunn takes all the appeal and obstacles of running a successful illicit drug operation and throws in a brilliant occult twist.

This new drug, Ash, offers the ultimate escapist experience. What better way to dissociate from unpleasant, boring, arduous, scary, and banal aspects of life than to literally step into the memories and experiences of another person? Someone bolder. More successful. Richer. Better looking. An actual being who lived, but is no longer among the upright and breathing.

The Winters family’s exclusive proprietary method for producing this particular stimulant requires fresh human corpses. Not just any corpses, either. The remains have to be of folks whose stories junkies want to relive. The higher the profile the grave being robbed, the better the market for the end product, but the more attention it’ll attract from local and national law enforcement. Oh, yeah. The insane demand for Ash will also attract major crime syndicates wanting a slice of the action.

There might also be a few insanely horrifying side effects. I mean, it can’t be all champagne and groupies, right? You know that saying, “Don’t get high from your own supply?” Dante the Ash dealer apparently never got that message. Having OD’d in the most horrifying, psychedelic, and erotic way possible, his corpse leaves the operation in an awkward position. This is exactly the kind of thing the mafia will try to use to leverage the Winters out of business.

Bone Parish’s artwork is fantastic. Jonas Scharf and Alex Guimaraes deliver an aesthetic that flips easily from gritty, dull reality to hyper saturated fantasy. The scenery screams Big Easy, from the streets and alleys to the historic graveyards and plantations. Characters are distinct and unique, with great use of expression and ambulation. You’ll want to punch that first mafia capo right in the face before he even speaks.

I’ve said before that Bone Parish is a little like Breaking Bad and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein had a beautiful, horribly twisted baby. It’s a fresh take on a several well worn tropes that haven’t crossed paths in quite this way before. The elements of crime drama, horror, and occult noir are front and center, but the deeper story is about family, loyalty, and personal tragedy.

Releasing this collected volume of chapters one through four on the same day as chapter five is a brilliant move by Boom! Studios. If you haven’t been tracking, but want to get in on one of the best new series of 2018, you can grab this volume and the current chapter, and they’ll bring you right up to speed. Go. Buy. Read.

Bone Parish Vol. 1: Discover Now Edition, collects issues #1-4 in a limited edition packaging, available exclusively in comic book stores. Published by BOOM! Studios, released 26 December 2018. Written by Thunder Falcon, illustrated by Jonas Scharf, color by Alex Guimaraes, letters by Ed Dukeshire, cover by Lee Garbett.

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he mostly tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

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