The Evil Within by Ian Edginton and Alex Sanchez

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The Evil Within by Ian Edginton and Alex Sanchez

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Category: Graphic Novels
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Based on a video game, and this does at time read like it. Still, some people will manage to get a lot from the retreads of the very familiar that it offers.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 112 Date: May 2015
Publisher: Titan Comics
ISBN: 9781782761655

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What do you fear most? And when you've answered that, think on why – is it something that happened to you, something you saw or read, or something you yourself did? The nature of horror is looked at in this graphic novel, which spins the usual web of nightmares around some fit young adults, and tests them with graphic death on the cards at the same time as keeping them in the dark about what has brought the doom and gloom to them. Starting with Dana, a college girl seeking her kidnapped best friend, things get darker, weirder, and forever more violent…

The book is certainly nightmarish, in that not only does it have an unearthly feel, it has the typical non-sequiturs of dreams. One minute people are here, the next they're there. At one point they're in the present, the next looking back at the past – and as in all horror films, it's never a good idea to look back (especially when the way ahead is a maze of razor wire). It's also nightmarish in that the things testing these people are at times absurdly bonkers – here's a zombie brigade, here a cannibal type, here the usual six-limbed bloke called Laura, and here a chap with what looks like a safe, wrapped in barbed wire, stuck on his head.

All this means, of course, that this will alienate many people for whom this kind of thing is errant nonsense. There are booby traps made of jumping hospital beds, an enforced walk across the top girders of a huge bridge, and of course Mr Safe Bloke with his Mallet. Yes, you need to be in the right frame of mind for these things. And if you are in that frame of mind you will probably already know this is a spin-off of a video game. Doing our dutiful best here at the Bookbag to give you the opinion nobody else can, we're looking at this from complete ignorance of the game – unlike many people who have complained this is a mere parallel tale, telling them nothing necessary and simply acting as a collector's piece of merchandise.

We, however, cannot be derogatory to the book in that way. We can however be quite humdrum in our opinions, though, for that is what we think the book is. Remember when, decades ago, the epitome of horror was Hellraiser – some blokes with fake body piercings and not a lot else going for them? This feels pretty much the same, if you add in zombies and other blatantly unoriginal factors. The scenario, with people working out why they're being tested in such a surreal manner, has become a lot less original thanks to the many torture porn movies of recent years.

And yet… and yet… We end up with the opinion that the book does just enough to lift it from being derivative. The artwork – nightmare jumps and illogical bits aside – just about makes the book spark – although whichever artist replaced the original after chapter one really needs to tone down the goggle eyes. The flow of the piece works – to such an extent it only takes a few minutes to read, and even if it will in no way entice me to play the game (even with a gallery of people from the game who aren't in the book at the end), it does just about work as its own entity. I can't see anybody raving over this, right mind or not – but I can see the curious getting some small satisfaction.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

The Strain Book One by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan, David Lapham and Dan Jackson is one place to turn to for more adapted horror in graphic form.

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Buy The Evil Within by Ian Edginton and Alex Sanchez at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Evil Within by Ian Edginton and Alex Sanchez at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Evil Within by Ian Edginton and Alex Sanchez at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Evil Within by Ian Edginton and Alex Sanchez at


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