Halloween Man: Hallowtide, by Drew Edwards and Lucio Inzunza


 

The world of Drew Edwards’ Halloween Man is, despite it supernatural flavor and horror pedigree, very down-to-earth. Opponents are dispatched with physical weapons, often of the melee variety, and generally have at least one bloody bite taken out of them by the hero. When greater powers do appear, they may be mysterious, but they’re not exactly revered. The mystic who made Solomon Hitch into the titular hero, Morlack, is such a greater power, as well as a lush, a slob, and an all-around horse’s rear.

While Solomon and Lucy do the heavy lifting of dispatching Spring Heeled Jack, whose powers flow from a source similar to Halloween Man’s, the engrossing part of this Samhain story is the embroidering of the universe in which it’s set. While it’s a small window into Morlak’s lengthy past, it helps round out the enigmatic and frustrating character by  adding a few data points about just where his line between right and wrong is drawn, as well as a better idea where his moral compass points. His role in, or rather his failure to stop, the creation of Spring Heeled Jack both extends the character’s aloofness to humanity into an incredibly longstanding element of his personality and provides new and more personal impetus for aiding humanity in his own caustic way. Along the way, the effects of the villian on our hero open a new and abstract way of looking at the cast – animal-head avatars that convey their true nature. While Lucy’s rabbit head is a great in-joke, it also suggests her quick wit and vulnerability; Morlak’s cockroach head suggests that he is above all a survivor, even at the cost of being repulsive.

This arc is a great and timely as a seasonal adventure, but as a piece of world building, it excels.