Social media is a web that shows off the best and worst of humanity, and the latest spooky tale from Aftershock Comics, I Breathed A Body, attempts to show readers a terrifying picture of the internet and the nefarious plot behind it all in the near-future. Horror is especially difficult to deliver in comics, with creative teams not having the benefit of jump scares, moving pictures, or bone-rattling music to rely upon when setting the stage but the creative team of writer Zac Thompson and artist Andy MacDonald have done a fine job with their initial outing into this enigmatic story and created imagery that will stay with you.
There's a lot for horror fans to love in I Breathed A Body #1, presenting imagery those suffering from Trypophobia—the fear of "holes, bumps, and clusters"—will definitely need to consider if they are looking to read this one. The first issue presents a number of mysteries that will have readers questioning just what is going on, but in a compelling way that will leave them attempting to connect the dots of how the main characters are linked within the different moving pieces. I was reminded of Ari Aster's Midsommar and Hereditary when reading this introduction, if that gives you a better sense of what to expect. From start to finish, the "creepiness" factor of the first issue does a fine job of presenting the horror that makes excellent use of the comics medium.
While the imagery and mysteries presented here are compelling, the characters involved in them could use some punching up. Needless to say, a first issue can be difficult to lay out the character beats alongside the draw of new events taking place in the story itself. Mylo Caliban, the social media influencer who acts as the impetus at the start, is meant to be annoying in a similar fashion as other real-life examples of talking heads vying for clicks. However, it's hard to rally behind him or his handlers, who are clearly going to be taking center stage in the comic moving forward.
Anne and Dalton are the two other main characters attempting to profit off the success of their client Mylo, while also keeping him in check, which goes horrifically wrong before this issue wraps. That isn't to say readers won't learn more about these characters as the series continues, it's only that this first issue has some difficulty juggling the creation of a like-able protagonist(s) with establishing the horrifying structure of the series itself.
As mentioned before, horror in comics is exceptionally difficult to convey, and while the characters may not be the draw here, the terror sprinkled throughout this opening issue certainly will be. As a reader, you can feel an ever-encroaching sense of dread, not simply from the opening and ending sequences which give readers the most horrific imagery in the issue, but also with the unique way that dialogue is presented, with some words specifically being highlighted for unknown reasons.
The world of I Breathed A Body feels lived in, which is a testament to how the combined talent of Thompson and MacDonald, providing readers a futuristic world that feels like it is bound to arrive. There are plenty of "WTF moments" to be found here regardless, and the realistic environment that is seen here makes said spooky beats hit that much harder as a result.
While there are a few different issues that could have been perfected before hitting print, this debut offers horror fans and comic book readers looking for a flash of terror something to dig into and a premise interesting enough to bring them back for more. I Breathed A Body might not roar out of the gate, but it is definitely prepared to roar past the finish line thanks to the strong bones of its story and an abundance of creepy visuals.
Published by Aftershock Comics
On January 20, 2021
Written by Zac Thompson
Art by Andy MacDonald
Colors by Triona Farrell0comments
Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover by Andy MacDonald and Triona Farrell