Advance Review: `Dead Mall’ #4 Is No Blue Light Special
by Tom Smithyman
It’s difficult to believe that a four-part series could wear out its welcome so quickly. Yet somehow Dead Mall did.
The limited series started with promise – a bunch of teens break into an abandoned mall, only to find that it’s haunted and they can’t escape. One by one, the kids are picked off and then turned into perverted version of themselves. But we never really cared for any of them. After all, we knew them at a glance: the jock, the overweight girl, the brave but introverted one. No new ground here.
What kept us going through the series was finding out more about the mysterious entity haunting the mall. The being served as the narrator, taunting the young invaders at every turn. Yet, despite promises to the contrary, we never learn who or what it is? Was it some centuries-old demon who haunts the young? The spirit of a shopper trampled to death during a Black Friday sale? Who knows? Who cares?
Apparently writer Adam Cesare didn’t give the origins a lot of thought, opting instead to focus on the kids’ current horrors. A cutesy “End?” stinger on the last panel promises (threatens) that the story could continue, but it’s a mall that few will want to revisit.
Artist David Stoll gets to have a bit of fun with the transformed teens. But there’s nothing here that is all that unique or even special. And the kids being chased are often depicted without many detailed features. His colors are good, though, and help to set the tone from scene to scene.
After four issues of being chased around a mall that somehow morphs and confuses the teens’ sense of direction, suddenly and inexplicably, an exit appears. Fortunately its as much an exit for readers as it is for the poor kids trapped inside the place.
Dead Mall #4 will be available for purchase on February 22, 2023.
After four issues, Dead Mall reaches its end. And it’s not a moment too soon. It began with a promising premise, but quickly devolved into a worst of teen angst and unexplained horror tropes.