• A Legacy of Violence #1
    Cullen Bunn
    Andrea Mutti
    Rus Wooton
    Cover Artist:
    Andrea Mutti
    Mad Cave Studios
    Release Date:
    Andrea Mutti

Mad Cave Studios is taking readers to the scary side of comics with a horrifying new series. A Legacy of Violence #1 -- by writer Cullen Bunn, artist Andrea Mutti, letterer Rus Wooton, designer Diana Bermúdez, and editor Chris Fernandez -- asks if someone can truly rid themselves of their past. Instead of focusing on the monsters inside the closet or rising up from a demonic plane, the upcoming comic series spotlights the monsters within.

A Legacy of Violence #1 uses a sleight of hand to keep the story deliberately enigmatic and ambiguous. This issue introduces two main concepts: a skull-faced serial killer lurking around and doing evil things and Dr. Nick Shaw, who is trying to do some good in the world. But the doctor has some skeletons in his closet that are tied to something called Unit 731, which has a special meaning that hasn't been revealed yet. It's alluded that Nick and the villain might be linked in some way, but it's still unclear how.

REVIEW: Mad Cave Studios' A Legacy of Violence #1_1

There's a reason Bunn is regarded as a master of horror. A Legacy of Violence isn't bursting with jump scares; instead, it's much more cerebral and unsettling, as the ambiguous nature of the story gets under the reader's skin. It's akin to Clive Barker's tales, where there are several layers of horror that eat away at the audience, exposing them to deeper, darker fears than anyone could have imagined. Bunn builds up Nick as a benevolent character, but he also plants a seed of doubt in some of the panels. No one can be certain if he really is as good as he's "shown" to be since his history is shrouded by mystery and repressed memories that are linked to his grandfather.

Mutti has the talent to switch tones in a heartbeat, and the artist understands Bunn's writing perfectly. He can shift gears from a casual conversation between two doctors that doesn't feel too nefarious or worrisome to a brutal torture scene where someone is begging for their life and making Saw's John Kramer look like an amateur with ease. Mutti finds the right balance between the banal and the horrific. His art transitions between tones seamlessly and never take the reader out of the story. Mutti's colors also play a part in creating the ambiance, as his minimalist approach helps to create an uneasy atmosphere. Then, when the blood hits the page, it gushes and makes a major statement.

REVIEW: Mad Cave Studios' A Legacy of Violence #1_0

A Legacy of Violence #1 lures the reader in from the first page. There's a slow build to the story, but it never comes across as tedious or uninteresting -- even if the facts appear a little murky at the moment. As soon as the issue ends, the first question will be: how is Nick connected to all of this? It ends off on a compelling hook -- like any good first issue of a series should. Fans are sure to be clamoring for more of Bunn and Mutti's maddening series.