Hunt for the Skinwalker #1 Review: A Promising Series Lies Ahead

BOOM! Studios' Hunt for the Skinwalker combines elements of horror, sci-fi, and Westerns as it lays the groundwork in its debut issue.

The Western and sci-fi genres usually make for an interesting pairing. The same can be said for the Western and horror genres. Each of those combinations has found some success across all entertainment mediums in the past. Hunt for the Skinwalker, a new comic series from BOOM! Studios, attempts to do both at once. This Western tale dives headfirst into the worlds of both horror and science fiction, building a fascinating and potentially overstuffed world. 

Hunt for the Skinwalker comes from writer Zac Thompson, artist Valeria Burzo, and colorist Jason Wordie. The central plot follows the Gorman family who have taken over a ranch in Northeastern Utah in 1996. The Gormans have money troubles and need things on the ranch to pan out, which helps makes sense out of why they can't simply pack up and head out of town when mysterious and terrifying occurrences begin plaguing their land.

At first, the issues for the Gormans trend in the direction of the scary and supernatural. A giant wolf creature appears to them and tries to eat their animals, though it seems intent on leaving them alone. That's followed by several pages of flashbacks and an explanation of a creature known as the skinwalker. The narration breaks down the history of this American cryptid and its roots in Native cultures, explaining that it is a witch that can transform into different beings in order to scare its prey. 

This legend is built up to be the central issue of the comic book, until the story pivots just a couple of pages later. When the family goes out to hunt the creature, they come upon a sleek, square UFO that zooms around the property. The next night, one member of the family sees the same flying object, this time with a tall, mysterious man inside. The pivot from cryptids to UFOs provides a bit of whiplash to readers.

Any first issue has to lay the groundwork for what's to come in the series ahead. Hunt for the Skinwalker clearly has many plans, which is very exciting. The only issue is loading up this debut with so much information and multiple potential issues for the Gormans to confront makes it feel bloated. It's honestly a bit overwhelming, taking on so much at one time. It would've perhaps been a more worthwhile endeavor to spend some space developing the characters—who admittedly have very promising bones—and saving some of the sci-fi elements for a future issue.

That said, there's still a lot to enjoy about Hunt for the Skinwalker, and it should certainly leave readers interested in what's coming next. Burzo's artwork really invokes the vibe of the 1990s American West. There's a comfortable feel to it, that somehow captures elements of both King of the Hill and Jordan Peele's Nope. There's an ease to flipping through these pages that keeps you engaged, even when some aspects of the story start to grow overpowering.

Hunt for the Skinwalker doesn't deliver a perfect debut, but does it really have to? The good far outweighs the not-so-good in this first issue, and it's easy to see the potential of what the series might become in the months ahead. 

Published by Boom Studios

On September 6, 2023

Written by Zac Thompson

Art by Valerio Burzo

Colors by Jason Wordie

Letters by Joe Sabino

Cover by Martin Simmonds