James Tynion IV’s bleak and bloody horror series Something Is Killing The Children is a fantastic comic book that’s lost a bit of steam lately.
Issue #7 is part two of the second arc, “The House of Slaughter”. Erica works for the titular House Of Slaughter, though it’s clear that there’s a healthy amount of friction between the two parties. While concrete details about the mysterious group, their stuffed animals and Erica’s relationship with them have been extremely scarce thus far, Issue #7 answers a lot of questions about their history and their future, finally giving readers the answers that they’ve been earnestly waiting for.
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Alright, you caught me. I lied. Unsurprisingly, this issue raises more questions than answers. Are their other variations than the “obscuratype” and the standard monsters? Does the House Of Slaughter kill every individual who witnesses their rituals? What’s Erica’s personal relationship with the breed of monsters that’s been terrorizing Archer’s Peak?
Something Is Killing The Children… And Readers’ Curiosity
These questions are fascinating, but a comic can’t survive on setup alone. Admittedly, Erica’s conversation with her House Of Slaughter superior isn’t the only story beat this week, but it is easily the most prominent. This issue actually began with a mother waiting outside of the high school stadium, waiting to see the body of her dead daughter. On the inside of the school Archer’s Peak’s finest working to identify the deceased child victims of the beasts, grimly reflecting on the vile and disturbing nature of their predicament. This opening is trademark SIKTC; depressing, morbid and painful.
Last issue, Something Is Killing The Children took a step back and let the story breathe after a very high octane climax, something that worked very well for that issue. Unfortunately, that break has interrupted the pacing of the overarching narrative, making for a slow seventh issue that’s lacking in story development.
Thankfully, this issue ends with Erica and her unwanted monster hunting partner embarking on a journey to lure out the juvenile monsters still plaguing the woods outside of Archer’s peak, promising a more eventful issue #8.
While this issue was not Something Is Killing The Children’s strongest plot-wise, it does excel in one area. Erica Slaughter’s design has always been one of the books most eye catching aspects, and the attention to detail in her facial expressions in issue #7 is unprecedented. Her rage, frustration and suppressed pain is portrayed wonderfully through her oversized eyes and sneering grimace. Artist Werther Dell’Edera really knows how to evoke human emotion subtly, and his sketchy, dynamic, line-heavy art continues to stun me.
I hope that the next installment in “The House Of Slaughter” gets the series back on track. While his return may not occur next issue, James will most definitely be returning this arc and I’m positive that will boost the story back to it’s initial heights. His presence has been sorely missed, and that may be part of why this issue felt a bit lackluster. The series is still a personal favorite, and I’m going to choose that this issue was a bit of a fluke. Tynion IV is a fantastic writer with a deep investment in the world of Archer’s Peak, and that’s been a winning combination thus far.
Something Is Killing The Children returns with issue #8 on July 8th, 2020. Be sure to check back for our review!