Indie Comic Review: Let’s Play God

Let’s Play God is a real surprise. What could have been a trite little story, or an over-the-top gore-fest was actually a well-paced, tense book that spent more time on character development than character killing.

After witnessing a murder, Mel finds her and her bandmates have now become targets of the killer. With the list of suspects growing and trust among friends eroding, Mel must find the killer before it’s too late for all of them. This descent into an imaginative world of darkness is sure to delight fans of horror, music, and unbridled adventure.

Let’s Play God does not start out with much promise. There is a bot of over the top creepy narrative which transitions to a scene of a group of “rocker chix” at band practice. It is all a little by-the-numbers and did nothing to make me excited about the book. But then the murder scene occurs and the book takes off in an entirely unexpected direction. All of a sudden the characters lose their front and the reader is able to see them how they are inside. The book transcends it horror premise and becomes a character-driven mystery.

There were a couple of pages that required re-reading a couple of times to figure out exactly what was happening. Part of this can be blamed on the script by Brea and Zane Grant which failed to name all the characters before placing them in a situation where knowing their names is important. The other blame lies with artist Eric J and his page layouts.

This page was particularly problematic. The way the eye travels along the page, the natural inclination is to follow the falling bottle. Then the eye travels to the right where the reader sees the expression on the face of the character and reads her speech bubble. Then the following panel is a photographer. It doesn’t quite make sense. On further examination there is another panel in the top, right of the page which gets overlooked as the eye follows the falling bottle. Once the page is read with that “missing” panel, the page makes far more sense.

There were a couple of other times in the book where I ran in to similar issues with the page layout.

 

This is unfortunate because overall the art is quite strong.  It is moody, expressive, and does a great job of giving a unique feel to the script.  Again, this was surprising since the opening scenes lacked subtlety.  I appreciated the design J gave the killer.  There is something creepy and disconcerting about a killer with a smiling face.  There is something John Wayne Gacey about it all…

Let’s Play God was a surprisingly good comic.  It does not take the easy way out by reveling in the blood or cheap titillation.  Instead the creators dig deeper and craft a story which works on several levels.  It is worth picking up a copy today.

Let’s Play Dead is out today from IDW.

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