Publisher: Alterna Comics
Writer: Erica J. Heflin
Artist: Fares Maese
Release Date: Out Now
After a childhood brush with death left Victoria Addair with a blackened hand with the power to vanquish the undead, she is recruited to join a special order who specialise in slaying the supernatural. As an assignment, she is sent to a mining town to get rid of a ghost boy who haunts the mountainside.
The ghost has been trying to lure a young boy up the mountain, and according to the townsfolk, that means he wants to lead him to his death. However, upon investigating further, it turns out he’s trying to worry the child of an incoming danger that could spell impending doom for the entire town.
THE BLACK HAND is not your typical fantasy comic. For a start, the lead is a foulmouthed ass kicking female; her colleagues in the Order of the Black Hand want nothing to do with her, as they consider her irresponsible and likely to get them killed. She’s easily annoyed, strong-minded and anti-social; this makes for some entertaining verbal exchanges with every person she meets.
In fact, every character in this story is strong and memorable. Fadir Rahil – the child Victoria sent to protect is blunt, honest and irresponsible. His rapport with Victoria is the engaging, central heart of the story. The child’s father, Master Rahal, is a shady short, with a history of dark family secrets, and those secrets have led to the vengeful undead rising from their graves in a bid to bring terror to his family.
This is a world populated with a manner of scary creatures, and their spin on zombie lore is refreshing compared to your typical dead rising from their graves to kill the living. It’s not a zombie invasion story packed with action; instead the focus is placed on slow building mystery – and it pays off dividends, with haunting results.
With THE BLACK HAND, Erica J. Heflin and Maese have created a true epic, set in a fictional world you’ll be engrossed in, and look forward to exploring more of in the future. Alterna Comics have a knack for producing outstanding genre fare, and this is up there with their very best output since their inception.
FINAL RATING: 9/10
You can pick your own copy from Alterna Comics.