Can you hear what I hear? That’s the sound of Cody Sousa returning to pen another exciting thriller, for Alterna Comics called Sonitus. Co-written by Dan Sheppard, with art by Cecilia Lo Valvo and Dee Cunniffe, and letters by Dezi Sienty. Mysterious voices lure a man back to his hometown to visit an abandoned house that he used to frequent as a child. But as he journeys through his old hangout, he encounters a supernatural presence that forces him to face his past and his darkest fears.
Sonitus, which is Latin for noise or loud sound, starts off with a bang with the cover art. The bright yellow of what appears to be an explosion or a setting sun, contrasts well with the darkness of the abandoned house, giving it an extra creepy vibe. For fans of horror comics and all things eerie, this cover is an eye-catcher. The credits don’t provide any detail as to who was responsible for the colors, but I’m assuming it was Cunniffe with the illustrations by Lo Valvo. A superb job by both on the cover art.
Having said that, the interior art is not my favorite. Although I love the style and first became a fan of a similar art style through the work of Gabriel Hardman (Invisible Republic), this looked a little bit too much like scribbles. It all depended on what the page contained. For example, the exterior of the house on page four was okay, but as the story became more maddening, the art also became more undecipherable. Which would be appropriate, but still, it would be nice to know exactly what I’m looking at on the page. Another example would be when the guy reaches for a doorknob on pages 11-12, he turns it and has a moment of lunacy where he’s surrounded by what? Eyeballs? Pool table balls? Your guess is as good as mine.
Again, as good as the cover art is, the color palette on the inside is a little on the drab side. I’m sure on the newsprint version it is even more. Black, olive green, grey, and mustard yellow dominate the comic. On the positive side as drab as the colors are, it does suit the story, so it is only a minor issue. Much like how a drummer knows when to pull back, it’s beneficial to work with an artist who knows how to work with an appropriate color scheme.
Having read and enjoyed Croak (Alterna Comics), also written by Sousa and edited by Sheppard, I had high hopes for Sonitus. I wasn’t quite as impressed with his writing here, and I wonder if it’s because the cast of characters is limited to one at least in this first issue. The tension Sousa created with Croak never quite got off the ground here. There was an editing misstep on page six with the same line repeating in two different dialogue boxes. And with little to no dialogue between pages 11-19, combining that with the choppy art, it caused a lot of skimming through much of the middle part of the comic-which writers never want.
I was a little disappointed with Sonitus, but I would not count it out. Considering we’re only on the first issue, there is still time for the story to develop. I’m also willing to cut Sousa some slack because Croak was a home run in my book. Heck, even the art could grow on me. Let’s just hope there isn’t another editing mistake. That’s just unforgivable to me considering how little script there was in this book. Unless it was a mistake during printing, I don’t know. Either way that should not pass anyone’s eyes.
Sonitus #1 will hit shelves this Wednesday, February 21st, 2018.