COMIC REVIEW: Hoax Hunters Volume 1: Murder, Death, And The Devil

hoaxhuntersThere’s a piece of art in the covers gallery at the back of this collected edition of Hoax Hunters which sums up the premise neatly – the strap line is ‘The truth is out there, but we make sure you never find it,’ while one of the lead characters attempts to cover up a giant Bigfoot-style footprint.

It’s quite a cool idea. Instead of the rogue agents trying to uncover the truth (take a bow, Mulder), this is an agency keeping the truth out of the public eye, and perpetuating the myth that the world is full of crazy folks who aren’t really seeing UFOs and Bigfoot.

 

Our story starts with a prelude, explaining the origin of the character called Murder, who appears to be a NASA space-suit full of crows. Nicely original. This balances all the cryptids found within the pages of Book One: Murder, Death and the Devil. Famous creatures featured include the Jersey Devil and Chupacabra. The team are introduced as TV stars, debunking the very real events which are occurring surrounding Murder’s appearance in Russia. Issue 1 then takes us to the Bayou in Louisiana where something has been killing the sentient monsters, monsters who know of our hero’s existence.

The team out investigating include Jack, whose father introduced him to the world of the paranormal; Regan, the telekinetic who was rescued by Jack after being exposed on TV as a child; and Ken Cadaver who, as his name suggests, is dead (and psychic). Lauren is back in headquarters, manning the computers and carrying out research. They all have interesting back stories that are fleshed out throughout the series.

So, who is the bad guy? What is going on? Why are people in a church revival dousing themselves with fuel and setting fire to themselves? What’s going on at the circus? And who is the guy with the goat’s head? This adventure is neatly wrapped up long before the collected edition finishes, which gives us time to examine Lauren’s story in the final installment and her rather touching encounter with the ‘devil’.

This series gives the impression that it was a lot of fun to write; almost like a greatest hits of cryptid hoaxes and conspiracies. For once, there’s nothing wrong with this idea because it’s written with an obvious zeal and a knowing wink. There’s even a warehouse scene which could be out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Writers Moreci and Seeley have come up with an interesting twist, although there’s nothing earth-shattering about the writing or story (with the character of Murder the possible exception). They both worked on various one-shots in the horror comic Hack/Slash. Hoax Hunters is more of a fantasy adventure romp with some interesting ideas and depth of back-story.

The art in Issue 0 (the prelude) is by JM Ringuet, who has previously worked on Transhuman and some Warhammer comics. His drawing has a muted, rough and ready feel to it which sets the introduction apart from the rest of the edition, which has a more modern and clean comic book style to it, from Alex Medellin (Elephantmen) and Emilio Laiso (Hack/Slash). What is becoming more and more interesting in new comics is the panelling is often rectangular, as if panel-per-panel viewing digitally is part of the design. Nothing wrong with this of course. It makes the regular comic experience less confused. Although the final issue by Laiso is slightly less traditional in panel placement.

Hoax Hunters is great fun without being groundbreaking. If you enjoy a dip in the paranormal pool, jump in.

 

Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Ian J Simpson

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