Advance Review: Divided They Fall In `Dead Mall’ #2
by Tom Smithyman
A solid follow-up to a strong first issue, Dead Mall #2 finds the group of teen trespassers regretting their decision to break into a not-so-abandoned mall. They story is strong, though the artwork is a little inconsistent and largely lacking on the monsters most readers are looking for in a series like this.
The first rule in any horror story is: don’t split up. Nothing good ever happens when the hunted split up. Nothing good, that is, unless you’re rooting for the killers.
Those killers – the mall walkers – are otherworldly demons that have taken over an abandoned mall. A group of kids broke into the dead mall in the last issue, only to find it haunted and escape is not as straightforward as it seems. Pathways that go to the right somehow lead to the left and upwards stairs take you down. Except when they don’t.
In all the confusion, the teens get separated. As they wander the long-vacant corridors they are tempted with relics of the mall’s long-shuttered shops – a sports pub, a boutique that sells shades long since discontinued, even a store that specializes in knives and swords. It seems there’s something for each of them. And those temptations may end up as their undoing.
Writer Adam Cesare wisely chooses to have one of the spirits haunting the mall serve as the narrator for this limited series. The phantasm helps to give some needed exposition and perspective all while adding some needed humor. (The best horror always has some laughs to break up the slaughter.)
Artist David Stoll doesn’t have a lot of carnage to depict this time, though he does a good job with stopped escalators that seem to lead nowhere and remnants of malls long past. His depictions of humans are more hit or miss, though. Some are sharp while others are inconsistent from panel to panel.
But we’re here for the undead mall walkers. We see a few, though not nearly enough to satisfy most readers. Then again, the teens could end up becoming the next generation of ghosts if they’re not careful – or if they keep splitting up.
Dead Mall #2 will be available for purchase tomorrow.