House of Gold & Bones #1 begins a new miniseries that directly ties into alternative metal band Stone Sour‘s two-part album of the same name. It’s written by Corey Taylor, the lead singer of both Stone Sour and Slipknot. While the story is meant to accompany the album, I approached it knowing nothing about the band’s music. Here’s the official description from Dark Horse:
Trapped in an alternate reality, the Human must make his way to the House of Gold & Bones as he is chased by a crazed mob, and taunted by mysterious ally, Allen. What the Human discovers on his journey will either be his salvation . . . or his destruction.
I don’t think my lack of familiarity with Taylor’s musical work hindered my understanding of the book. There were definitely gaps in the storytelling (One break in conversation had me wondering if I somehow skipped a page, although, if I did, I can’t find it.) but I didn’t get the feeling that knowledge of the Gold & Bones album would help me. Part of my confusion is a result of the main character, the Human, being pretty confused himself. As his moniker suggests, he doesn’t know who he is (The name tag on his shirt just says “Zero.”) or even whether or not he’s dreaming. So the gaps in the story could be intentional.
Richard Clark‘s art is, overall, a very good fit for this story. While his characters were a bit stiff in places, it wasn’t a significant problem. His landscapes and layouts, meanwhile, are excellent. The perspectives and vistas we see are ever so slightly warped, creating a feeling of vertigo and contributing to the dreamlike qualities of the story. Similarly, the panels, while mostly rectangular, are sometimes shattered, sketchy, or fraying at the edges, which also emphasizes the nightmare the Human is apparently trapped in.
Even though this is just the first issue, I was still hoping for a certain amount of resolution, just to better understand what’s going on. A mystery that’s spread out over several installments is fine, but only if we have sufficient context to base our guesses on. Unfortunately, no such resolution occurs, and we’re asked to come back for another issue. That is, if we want anything to make sense.
Zac isn’t really a metal fan. He loves the opening theme of Gravity Falls, though (he has it as his ringtone). Follow him on twitter.