After a limited run with (at times) limited results, Dark Horse takes another stab at the Grindhouse genre this month. And, hey, so far it’s far more promising than the first.

The official description from Dark Horse:

Grindhouse is back from the dead, and it’s meaner, badder, and dirtier than ever! In the first of four new exploitation opuses, Scalped’s R. M. Guéra joins series writer Alex de Campi for “Slay Ride,” a brutal holiday tale of revenge and supernatural terror in the driven snow!

26746This isn’t the first time that supernatural killers have used a snowed-in cabin on Christmas Eve as the setting for their bloody murders, but it is the first time it’s felt writer Alex de Campi has brought her readers there. In issue #1 of this new Grindhouse launch de Campi introduces us to a family being systematically executed by what appears to be perverse versions of pop culture icons — so far we have a demented clown, and an old Colonel. The only survivor is a solitary step-mom whom these creatures leave alive is deference to the lung cancer that’s already eating her alive — the message is clear; these creatures are the new angels of death and they won’t chisel in on another angel’s victims. Regardless, this brief reprieve gives our dying heroine enough time to try and fight these creatures (and maybe an opportunity to reconcile with the step-daughter who is still actively fighting for her life).

For those of you who read de Campi’s earlier Grindhouse run, you’ll find all the strong aspects of her work represented in this issue, but none of the drawbacks — yes, there’s blood, and gore, and a super creepy premise. But best yet, there seems to be real attention paid to character development — each character has something to lose and something to gain. In previous works,  de Campi’s characters have felt exceptionally flat — you never cared about them. But this run suddenly feels different. And it’s a joy to read.

R. M. Guéra’s art is top-notch. Richly rendered, emotive, and eerie as hell. It makes this script pop and I found myself frequently lingering over his pages.

Grindhouse: Drive-In, Bleed-Out #1 offers a very strong start. Fingers crossed it keeps going this way.

  • + Great Art
  • + Great Story

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