Writer: Dan Watters
Artist: Steve Beach
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Tom Napolitino
Cover Artist: Kai Carpenter
Cartographer: Jared Blando
It’s been ten years since the last god fell, bringing peace to the realm of Cain Anuun. But now, as echoes of dissent and pain sound throughout the kingdom of men, their champion and queen, Cyanthe, has set out in secret to see the land for herself. Aided by her handmaiden, Nykeo, Cyanthe travels to a distant village at the foot of the marshlands. There she’s taken in by a kind couple with many children, none of them their own. Orphans are common in this place – as are the ghosts. Lost children, still searching for a home. And when a boy goes missing in the night and Cyanthe and Nykeo go looking for him, they must face the creature lurking beyond the village and the secret that brought them there.
A standalone one-shot expanding upon Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s The Last God universe, Songs of Lost Children is a tight, tense horror just right for the time of the year when the air takes a chill and the shadows grow long. Writer Dan Watters (Coffin Bound, Lucifer) pulls more out of a moody monster story than you might expect and manages some deft twists of character that hint at the larger world beyond without requiring prior knowledge of the mythos.
On the note of prior knowledge, it’s here I must confess my bias. The book is drawn by friend and collaborator Steve Beach (The Witching Hour, Lost Boys of the U.S. Bremen), and frankly I’ve been waiting to get my grubby paws on a copy ever since I heard he got the gig. Even so, I won’t recuse myself from saying the art is exquisite. Gothic and painstakingly precise, Steve’s devotion to detail and keen sense of storytelling are on full display –heightened further by the colors from Dave Stewart (Basketful of Heads, Gideon Falls). Adding hues to Steve’s pages, whereon he often makes a zen-like practice out of fitting as much black ink as inhumanly possible, is no easy task and has felled many a talented colorist. But Stewart more than rises to the occasion, and together they’ve crafted a visual style that makes me yearn for more from the duo.
Dark, rich, scary, and fun, Songs of Lost Children is just the right Halloween treat for your pull list’s sweet tooth. But be warned: this book bites back. Pick up a copy at an Ultimate Comics location near you.
Review by Cliff Bumgardner