It’s no secret that I love comic books and that every single year I find myself more and more impressed by the new stories being told through this medium. While most other mediums always have a shortfall: books that rely on your imagination to bring the story to life, movies that are held back by the limits of reality or even animation that depends on a certain level of realism for people to become invested. Comics suffer from none of these; it truly is a limitless form of storytelling which is why Rain works so well as a comic.
Based on the short story written by legendary horror author Joe Hill (Dying Is Easy; Basketful of Heads; Locke & Key) and adapted to comic form by none other than David M. Booher (Canto; All New Firefly) and with art by Zoe Thorogood (Origins; Proctor Valley Road) comes the latest horror mini-series to be published by Image Comics (Saga; Stray Dogs; Paper Girls), Rain.
This is usually the part in the review where I warn about spoilers, or I try to sum up the story without them; however, Rain spoils itself by the start of page 3 already, so it doesn’t matter. We are taken on this supernatural-sci-fi-horror road trip by the main protagonist, a young girl called Honeysuckle Speck. The comic starts on a seemingly ordinary day in August. The sun is out, the sky is blue, birds are chirping, and Honeysuckle is having her best day ever.
Honey’s girlfriend, Yolanda, Honey’s first true love, is coming to Boulder, Colorado, to move in with Honey. However, shortly after Yolanda arrives, some dark clouds start rolling in. Before long, the two lovebirds are met with the flash rain they saw coming. Only this is unlike any rain anyone has ever seen before. The stuff falling from the sky? It’s not rain; hell, it’s not even hailing. Instead, hundreds and thousands of razor-sharp crystal nails start plummeting down from the heavens and impaling and shredding anyone caught in the deadly downpour. Yolanda was one of the first victims.
Whenever I see Joe Hill’s name attached to a project, my attention is instantly sparked. While I won’t say that everything Joe Hill touches turns to gold, I will say he doesn’t touch anything that isn’t already gold. While there are many authors in the world, there are very few storytellers. People who don’t just write for the sake of it but rather tell stories because the world lives inside of them and needs to get out – Joe Hill is one of those storytellers.
At its core, Rain is nothing other than a tragic love story between a young couple, but in Joe Hill and David Booher’s hands, it’s a tale of horror that’s sure to grab you, pull you in and keep a vice hold on your heart until you struggle to breathe. The tension in Rain doesn’t even come from the story; we already know within the first few pages how this story ends, so there is no surprise there. Instead, the tension is created by the love and kinship we feel for the characters and how powerless we are to help them avoid their fates.
Of course, when talking about a comic, you can have the best story in the world, but it’s going to be made or broken by how well the story meshes with the art and in the case of Rain, Zue Thorogood’s art not only complements Rain but rather elevates it and gave it a life all on its own. This is made possible by art that looks and feels unique. The art could never be confused for belonging to another horror story or comic book. Rain truly is a pastel-coloured nightmare.
When the original story came out, I remember being so drawn in and not being able to shut up about it, retelling everything that was happening to my partner, each page of the way. Flash to a few years later, and my partner was sitting furiously googling, looking for this “amazing movie” we had watched together, only to figure out it wasn’t a movie at all, but rather Rain. It turns out as I was retelling the story, my partner’s mind had just run free and turned it into a movie, a testament to how amazing the story truly is. I bring this up because going into the Rain comic, I already had a pretty strong image built up in my mind, and there was a lot for Rain to live up to. But it turns out the Rain comic is the exact version that was living in my heart all along.
Rain is absolutely everything the bookworm in me wanted. I’ve read countless book-to-comic adaptions, but none have managed quite to grab my attention like Rain. The way all these conflicting themes like love, happiness, tragedy and horror are mixed together not only makes for an intriguing story but a powerful visual comic as well and honestly, it might just be the best breakout comic of the year.
Want to pick up Rain for yourself? Then remember to head over to Critters and Comics. Rain is still ongoing but will be available to collect as either 54 Single Issues or 1Trade Paperback when the story is complete. If you don’t know what any of that means, but you’d like to, click on our commonly used comic terms only post here.