Michelle Herbert reviews Hollow Monsters #1…
In 1982 we meet Jay, when he is still a child, here we really get to see how his mind works, how he is gripped by fear after his safe neighbourhood is vandalised. From there the book swings between Jay’s remembered past to his present, at the same time the story is intersected with real-world news of the time, which also helps the reader keep track of the time period they are in.
A lot of thought has gone into this story and each section works well against the whole. We are given an example of what is more real; what you saw? Or what you remember seeing? With Jay in this part of the story, it is hard to tell if what we are seeing is what he remembers happening in the past or what actually happened at the time.
The comic itself is also quite meta, as Jay as an adult looks like he is based on Monty Nero. There is also a cutscene that shows Jay working on a comic and dealing with a small time publisher, whilst also drawing the pages in the comic.
The artwork is mixed, there are a lot of heavy lines which allows your eye to be drawn into what you need to see. This includes seeing the fear in Jay’s eyes as he is chased through the forest near his home. The backgrounds are lush and atmospheric and filled with sunlight. Everything is very evocative and makes you feel slightly off-kilter. as this first issue is only the warm-up setting up what is to come. Especially when we meet Jay in later years where he is reminiscing on the past, but will that past also reveal something much darker as we are left to mull over the question: Who is the Hollow Man?